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Teacher cleared of kidnap and assault

PUBLISHED: 10:06 30 August 2018 | UPDATED: 14:06 30 August 2018

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT

A Suffolk teacher and one of his friends have been cleared of kidnapping a woman and assaulting her after the prosecution dropped the case against them because of a slip-up by the police.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that during a police interview former Suffolk New College teacher Shaun Spencer told officers that the victim of the alleged kidnap, Emma Taylor, had sent him a text message threatening to ruin his life.

Police officers had taken possession of her phone following the alleged kidnap but were unable to download material from it because of an incompatibility with software they were using.

A recommendation was made that the phone should be sent to the police’s high-tech department for further investigation but the phone was returned to Miss Taylor and no further checks were made on it, said Mr Clark.

“You may think that was very unfortunate whatever the circumstances were,” said Mr Clark.

He said the “breakdown in communication” was only discovered on Tuesday and in the circumstances he had decided to offer no evidence against the defendants.

“Given that the prosecution has to prove the case so you are sure how can you be sure of the defendants’ guilt if the complainant appears to have sent that message?” said Mr Clark to the jury.

Spencer, 37, of Stowmarket Road, Needham Market and Peter Ward, 35, of Quinton Road, Needham Market, both denied kidnapping and common assault on Miss Taylor and their trial started on Tuesday.

After Mr Clark offered no further evidence against the two men, the jury was directed by Judge Emma Peters to return not guilty verdicts on all charges.

It had been alleged that Miss Taylor was driven to Barking church after meeting Spencer, who was her partner, and his friend Ward in a car park outside her home in July last year.

After allegedly being pushed into a blue BMW driven by Spencer, Miss Taylor was allegedly restrained by the two men when she tried to escape.

She allegedly managed to escape when the car ran out of petrol and flagged down a passing motorist before calling the police.

During police interviews the men denied kidnapping Miss Taylor and using any violence towards her.

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