Musician Roy Harper slams prosecutors after being cleared of abuse claims
Folk-rock musician Roy Harper has expressed anger at delays in the legal system after being cleared of sexual abuse allegations dating back to the mid-1970s.
In a statement issued after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided to offer no evidence against him, the 74-year-old songwriter hit out at the length of time it had taken to prove his innocence.
Harper was acquitted earlier this year of indecently assaulting a 16-year-old girl in 1980 but a jury failed to reach verdicts on other counts relating to a second complainant.
The guitarist and song-writer, formerly of Marden, Herefordshire, attended Worcester Crown Court to hear the CPS had decided to drop the remaining charges - after initially seeking a re-trial.
In a statement issued by his legal team, the singer said: "I said at the beginning of this process that I was innocent of these allegations.
"I have now been acquitted on all the charges that were eventually brought. This case should never have gone as far as this or taken so long to resolve.
"The psychological and personal cost to my wife and myself has been enormous, and in addition to that the financial cost is hugely unfair."
Harper, who now lives in Rossmore, Co Cork, said he had lost his livelihood after being informed of the allegations in February 2013.
The recording artist, who has released 32 albums during a 50-year career, added: "I realise that these are difficult issues at this time in this society and I thank my lawyers for standing by me and working so hard to show the truth.
"Despite coming out of this without a blemish on my name, I nonetheless cannot recoup my costs and that's left me incredibly angry.
"I'm now going to restart my working life where I left off nearly three years ago."
The CPS said in a statement: "We keep all our cases under constant review and in this case it was decided that based on the strength of the evidence there is no longer a realistic prospect of a conviction.
"We will be meeting with the complainant and her family in order to fully explain our decision."