Postman cleared of Maidenhall rape

THEY say that mud sticks - but Jamie Garnham is today holding his head high after being cleared of rape.The postman from Shakespeare Road is fighting the stigma hanging over after he continuously denied raping a 49-year-old woman on Maidenhall Green, Ipswich, in June.

THEY say that mud sticks - but Jamie Garnham is today holding his head high after being cleared of rape.

The postman from Shakespeare Road is fighting the stigma hanging over after he continuously denied raping a 49-year-old woman on Maidenhall Green, Ipswich, in June. He claimed she consented to sex.

For four months he has wondered if a jury would believe him or send him to prison but after a five-day trial jurors yesterday took about half an hour to find him innocent.

"I was afraid I wouldn't be believed," said a relieved Mr Garnham today.

"But even now, afterwards, people who don't know me well will have seen my picture and name in the newspapers, and say 'that's him.' Mud sticks and that's the problem now.

"I detest rapists. I'd seen stories in the paper before, and told my friends what I'd like to do to people like that."

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"We all knew right from the start that he was not guilty," said his sister Mandy Black, 41, from Bramford.

She took nine weeks off work and suffered depression because of the accusations that shocked the whole family. She added: "It has been a living nightmare for Jamie and all the family."

His 73-year-old mum Violet, who he lives with, visited him at Norwich Prison where he spent a week before being granted bail to his friend Darren Huntley's house at Bradwell near Great Yarmouth.

She said: "It was terrible. I'd never been inside a prison before."

"I never want to go back there," said Mr Garnham. "It was a total loss of privacy."

He still feels the police should have investigated his side of the story more thoroughly, saying: "If they had, it would never have come to court."

During the trial, Ipswich Crown Court heard Mr Garnham, 30, met the woman, who he vaguely knew, on Wherstead Road in the early hours of June 30.

He had spent the evening trying to patch up a relationship with ex-girlfriend Sandra Arnold and the woman listened to his problems as he walked her home.

The tipsy pair walked to Maidenhall Green where they kissed and lay down on the grass behind the bus stop. A 16-year-old girl told the court she heard the woman give a loud screech for help.

The woman claimed in court that Mr Garnham had grabbed her by the throat and punched her in the mouth, slapped her face and suffered scratches to her chest. Her husband told the court his wife could hardly speak when she returned home late with a swollen lip.

But Mr Garnham claimed cctv footage shown in court showed him walking her home afterwards, and said the screech could have been a dog barking.

He said today that they did bang heads by accident, but he didn't know she was hurt.

He said today: "If she had said no, if there was any doubt, I would have stopped –I said that in court."

As he prepared to return to his post round today, Mr Garnham said: "It seems such a long time since I was last at work. There will be a few people surprised to see me back."

He added: "I will definitely be very careful in future when it comes to meeting girls," and Mrs Black said: "They will have be vetted by all the family first."

Mr Garnham thanked his family and friends for sticking by him, and solicitors Fison and Company, and barrister Alistair Williamson.

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