South Yorkshire man is cleared of ‘rape’

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A SOUTH Yorkshire man accused of sexually assaulting and raping a teenager as she walked her dog in woods has been cleared.

Sheffield Crown Court ruled Kevin Wood, aged 35, of Ward Street, Penistone, was mentally unfit to enter a plea as a retrial into a sex attack on a young girl was due to start.

The court heard from two doctors who both found Mr Wood – who suffers from learning disabilities and is on the autistic spectrum – was not fit to stand trial in court.

A jury was sworn in and jurors were told they must decide, on the evidence, whether or not he committed the act.

The jury was told the 16-year-old girl was attacked as she walked her dog in Hoylandswaine, near Barnsley, in May 2010.

She claimed she was attacked by a ‘growling’ man whom she had passed in the street just a few moments earlier.

The attack happened a week before the girl took her GCSEs and she did not tell anyone about it for five months, the court heard.

The court was told she was so worried about falling pregnant that she went to a chemist the next day and took an emergency contraceptive pill.

The girl, now aged 18, eventually confided in a counsellor and later contacted police.

Initially she told South Yorkshire Police that she had been sexually assaulted.

But in a second interview, conducted several months later, she told officers she had been raped.

At the first trial Robert Storey, Mr Wood’s stepfather, said he thought Mr Wood was at home at the time of the attack.

Jurors listened to several days of evidence and were sent out to consider their verdict on Monday.

After a short time deliberating, they found that Mr Wood did not commit the acts alleged against him, and the case was discharged by Judge Simon Lawler QC.