UK
08/02/2016 07:13 GMT | Updated 12/02/2016 07:59 GMT

Mark Pearson Cleared Of Sexually Assaulting 'Award-Winning' Actress At Waterloo Station

A London commuter has been cleared of sexually assaulting an "award winning" actress at a busy train station after a jury threw out claims the crime took place in the brief second they passed one another.

Mark Pearson was walking through Waterloo Station in December 2014 during the alleged incident.

He was accused of brushing against the actress, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and sexually assaulting her by penetration.

But CCTV footage showed that the 51-year-old artist walked past the woman without altering his stride, and with a newspaper in one hand and the other on his rucksack strap.

Pearson was cleared by a jury at Blackfriars Crown Court after 90 minutes' deliberation in London last week, the Mail on Sunday newspaper said.

The defendant told the newspaper that he had endured a year-long "Kafkaesque nightmare" because of the complaint, and blames the Crown Prosecution Service for the charge.

It is not clear from the CCTV whether there was definitely any physical contact between the two strangers.

The award-winning actress, who is in her 60s, accused Pearson of penetrating her for two or three seconds following a violent blow to her left shoulder.

She contacted police, who tracked him to his East London home two months later using data from his Oyster card.

Pearson told the court: "I would have had to crouch down, put my hand up the woman’s skirt... penetrate her, take my hand out again... all while holding the newspaper and walking along the concourse.

"It’s preposterous. It is against everything I believe in as a human being. I did nothing."

Jacob Blythe, who compared the pictures with the woman’s statement, told the jury that Pearson passed the actress for "half a second".

The Mail on Sunday reports that there were no witnesses, nor any forensic evidence.

The actress also failed to pick out Pearson in an identity parade of video images.

The case has raised questions about the CPS’s decision-making in sexual assault cases.

A CPS spokesman said: "There was sufficient evidence for this case to proceed to court and progress to trial. We respect the decision of the jury."

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