Spalding pensioner ‘not guilty’ of molesting young girls

The Old Bailey
The Old Bailey

A 73-year-old man from Spalding has been cleared of molesting two young girls at a children’s home in the 
1970s.

Michael Coughtrey, from Spalding, was accused of abusing the youngsters on occasions when he went to pick up his wife who had worked at the home in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire.

His Old Bailey trial was told that one of the girls had complained to staff at the time but did not feel that she would be “supported or believed”.

Police launched an investigation in 2014 after a second alleged victim recognised a former staff member of the Woolmer Drive home at a Sainsbury’s checkout and was advised to go to authorities.

After Mr Coughtrey was arrested in March last year, he told police that his wife had worked at the home and he would often visit to collect 
her.

While there he would read stories to the children and recalled the girls sitting on his lap, but denied sexually assaulting them, saying he would have had a book in his hands.

The jury deliberated for more than six hours to find Mr Coughtrey, not guilty of six counts of indecent assault.

The verdict was delivered today (Wednesday).