Jury decides pensioner did not rape teenager

A JURY has cleared a pensioner of holding a teenager with learning difficulties against her will and raping her.

John Ebdon had been charged with five sexual offences after a young woman claimed he held her at his Weston home and subjected her to sexual abuse.

But a jury at Bristol Crown Court has today (Thurs) decided that he did not commit the acts.

The 67-year-old, of Kensington Road, suffers from dementia and was deemed unfit to enter a formal plea in response to the charges.

The prosecution in the case had alleged that he had approached the young woman, who was then aged 19 and cannot be named for legal reasons, on October 31 last year and took her back to his flat.

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The prosecution had alleged that he had carried out sexual abuse against her and he was arrested and charged with two counts of assault by penetration, two counts of rape and one of sexual assault.

Fiona Elder, prosecuting, said there was also a one in one billion chance of the DNA found on the woman’s underwear belonging to a man other than Mr Ebdon.

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But Ramin Pakrooh, defending, suggested to the jury that whatever had happened had been consensual.

He said: “It’s relatively easy to say it was rape in place of sex.”

Addressing the jury before they were sent out to return a verdict, he said: “Overall in this case you may think that the account as to how she came to be at his flat in the first place has the sort of holes in it that are relatively visible.”

The court had previously been told that the alleged victim had called people on chat lines, although she had not met anyone in person.

The jury retired this morning, and this afternoon returned a verdict that he did not commit the acts.

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