A cleaner from Honiton has been cleared of historic sexual abuse in the jury first trial to be held at Exeter Crown Court since the Covid 19 emergency.

Kevin Lovelace-Parker was cleared of six counts of indecent assault against a girl aged eight to nine which dated back to the 1990s.

He was found not guilty after the first trial to be held at the court centre under strict health and social distancing guidelines.

The jury had to stand on pre-marked spots two metres apart in a neighbouring court room during their empanelment and sat behind Perspex screens during the hearing itself.

They were spread out across one entire side of Court One, which was used for the trial because it is the only one in the building big enough to allow sufficient distance between them.

Each were given their own jury bundle, which contained documents such as the indictment, agreed facts and a summary of the police interview.

Nobody other than the juror was allowed to touch the bundle and jurors entered and left court in a long crocodile to enable them to maintain distancing.

It was the first contested case to be heard in Exeter since March 18, when the trial of former Devon County Council leader Brian Greenslade, who was accused of three sexual assaults, was stopped.

The councillor’s case was about to start when new restrictions were announced and it was abandoned. It has now been re-scheduled for next year.

The court has remained open to deal with sentences and preliminary hearings and to re-schedule cases which were delayed because of the pandemic emergency.

In the first case since the re-start, Lovelace-Parker, aged 52, of Queen Street, Honiton, denied and was acquitted of six offences of indecent assault.

He is alleged to have put his hand down a girl’s trousers repeatedly in a series of incidents in the 1990s when she was aged eight or nine.

She did not report the alleged abuse at the time but made a complaint to the police in 2018 after meeting Lovelace-Parker when he was working as a cleaner in Honiton.

The encounter re-kindled memories and she gave a video recorded account in which she told police of the allegations.

Lovelace-Parker denied touching her at all and said he had never been alone with the child.





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