Acquitted caretaker's year of hell

A SCHOOL caretaker acquitted of indecently assaulting a young girl 30 years ago has today spoken publicly for the first time of the personal hell he has endured for the past year.

A SCHOOL caretaker acquitted of indecently assaulting a young girl 30 years ago has today spoken publicly for the first time of the personal hell he has endured for the past year.

Mark Quinton, 48, of Church Lane, Claydon, was found not guilty yesterday by a jury at Ipswich Crown Court of committing a sex act on the girl between December 1976 and December 1978 when the girl was seven or eight.

It had been alleged that the girl, who was sexually abused for five years by her foster father, was taken into a school cleaning cupboard by Mr Quinton where he indecently assaulted her.

However the jury took less than an hour to find him not guilty.


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Giving evidence Mr Quinton, who has no previous convictions, said that although he had known the alleged victim's foster father he hadn't had any contact with him while he was working at St Johns Primary School between 1976 and 1981.

Mr Quinton told The Evening Star the verdict had lifted a great burden that had plagued him since he was arrested in October last year.

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He said: “When the verdict was read out I just collapsed in a heap.

“After 13 months it is over and my family and I have got our lives back.

“It has been sheer hell.

“I haven't had a decent night's sleep since the day I was arrested.”

Mr Quinton told how he had had nightmare visions planted in his mind by police of things that he was alleged to have done to the child.

He said: “For someone in the line of work I am in the allegation couldn't have been more serious.

“I'm relieved it's over but it hasn't quite sunk in yet.”

Mr Quinton is now setting about resuming normal life but remains suspended from his position as caretaker at Claydon High School where he has worked for the past 18 years.

He concedes if he is reinstated it could be difficult resuming his work despite the fact he has received support from the community.

He said: “Anybody who knows me well knew this allegation was absolutely ridiculous but in the back of my mind there is the question of whether it will be difficult for me to return back to work under the circumstances.”

Mr Quinton, who has been married to his wife Fiona for 25 years and has two grown-up sons, said he felt the only explanation for the allegation was that the alleged victim pointed the finger at the wrong person.

He said: “My only connection with the allegation is that I knew the family of the girl.

“I can only think that over the years she knew I was a caretaker and came to a conclusion it was me.

“I think it is a case of mistaken identity.”

Headteacher at Claydon High School Elizabeth Soule said a decision on Mr Quinton's future would be taken imminently.

“He is currently on suspension and we are considering the situation with the local education authority and will be making appropriate decision in the near future.”

n. Have you been through this kind of ordeal? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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