A MAN has spoken of his relief after being cleared of committing a sex attack against a schoolgirl.
Patrick Bradley spent three months locked up in various jails on remand before he stood trial on the serious allegations.
And he was facing a lot longer behind bars if he was found guilty of the claims that he sexually assaulted a schoolgirl.
But Patrick’s seven-month nightmare was finally brought to an end after a jury unanimously declared him innocent on all charges.
The 22-year-old was cleared last Thursday after a four-day trial at Teesside Crown Court.
Patrick told the Mail: “It was really stressful but I knew I was not guilty, and knew the truth would come out.
“When the jury said not guilty, I just ran out of the dock. I felt on top of the world.
“I was locked up in jail for three months and then was on a tag for five months.
“I was mad. I kept wondering why is this happening to me?”
Patrick stood accused of forcibly kissing the girl, who cannot be legally named, against her wishes and then forcing her to touch him sexually.
But he told the jury she kept trying to kiss him, and it was her who touched him.
Prosecutors claimed Patrick said to the girl “you are my new girlfriend”, which he denied saying.
As well as being cleared of two charges of sexual assault, Patrick was also found not guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm on a man in a separate incident which he also stood trial for.
He admitted punching the man once but said it was in self defence after he had tried to hit Patrick.
The man suffered a fractured leg after he lost consciousness and fell over and needed medical attention.
Patrick told how his nightmare started after he voluntarily attended Hartlepool Police Station for the assault matter last year.
He said: “I handed myself in for the fighting, and they said I was accused of sexual assault.
“I thought they were joking.”
He was originally released on bail but was then held on remand for three months at Holme House Prison, in Stockton, and then Durham Prison.
Patrick, of Owton Manor, Hartlepool, admits to having run-ins with he law in the past.
In November 2012, he was jailed for six weeks by Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court after he admitted possession of cocaine, obstructing a police officer, and driving offences.
And in February last year he was given a 15-month prison sentence suspended for two years at Teesside Crown Court after he admitted dangerous driving.
But Patrick is now looking forward to a brighter future and is set to go and work offshore on an oil rig.
He said: “I just want to put this all behind me, and move forward with the rest of my life.”