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Council boss cleared of rape charge

A council chief executive has been cleared of raping a female colleague he met when she was drunk in a bar.

Byron Davies, 52, who ran Conwy County Council in north Wales, took the married 26-year-old to his flat where they had sex.

The jury at Mold Crown Court found him not guilty of raping the colleague, who claimed she had no recollection of what happened and was too drunk to consent to sex.

Mr Davies, a divorced father of two daughters from Yelverton, Devon, nodded in acknowledgement as the jury of seven women and five men returned their unanimous verdict following an hour and 15 minutes of deliberations. Judge Niclas Parry told him he could leave the dock, saying: "Mr Davies, you came into this court a respected man of good character and you leave with that good character intact."

The local authority chief executive was suspended from his job last March when police launched the rape investigation. The trial heard he met the woman in the bar at the Castle Hotel in Conwy on March 23 last year. She was drunk after spending the evening with a friend and approached the defendant, who was sitting alone, and asked if he was Byron Davies because she believed she recognised him.

Although they both worked for Conwy Council, they did not know each other. The woman told the jury she remembered leaving the pub in the defendant's car and arriving at his flat in nearby Deganwy. She said she had a vague memory of Mr Davies "coming on to her", touching her and kissing her on the lips, but she pushed him away.

The next thing she remembered was being woken up by him tapping her on the shoulder and telling her that it was morning. Davies was arrested at his flat just after midnight on March 25 and in an interview he denied rape. Davies told the jury he was flattered by the attention of an "attractive and flirtatious" woman half his age and said the woman asked him more than once whether he had a room at the Castle Hotel before he said she willingly accompanied him to his home.

Speaking outside court, Mr Davies, who believed the victim was not as drunk as she later claimed to be, said the investigation had left him "devastated" and "angry". He had stinging criticism of the conduct of the investigation by North Wales Police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

Mr Davies said: "Obviously I am absolutely delighted and thrilled with the decision that has been reached. For anybody that knows me that decision was never in question. I am very angry about the case that has been brought against me. The woman concerned clearly was lying but I do have an element of sympathy for her and she may require some kind of psychiatric help in the future."

Mr Davies said he had a grievance against the Crown Prosecution Service and North Wales Police for their conduct during the case. He said a toxicology report had the wrong labelling, CCTV had the wrong timing and described it as "lazy policing". He also said he would take further action, through his solicitors, over actions of senior police officers in relation to the investigation, describing it as "most disappointing".

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