The final defendant in the long-running historical sex abuse trial at Mold Crown Court has been cleared of all charges.
Today (Thursday, July 2), almost two weeks since the jury first retired, Keith Stokes of Farndon was found not guilty of three charges of indecent assault, one charge of serious sexual assault and one charge of attempted serious sexual assault.
Stokes, aged 62, a former haulier and abattoir manager, from Quarry Hill, had already been found not guilty of one charge of indecency with a child.
Outside court, Mr Stokes said he was glad the nightmare was all over.
He said that the jury had “got it spot on” and he wanted to thank everyone for the help and support he had received.
The jury would have been out two weeks by tomorrow (July 3) and Mr Stokes said it had been an additional strain for him to be the only defendant left for the last few days.
“The jury has done a wonderful job and the truth is now out,” he said.
It had been hanging over him for two years, he now wanted to go home and chill, he would go away for a few days and then “start to get my life back together again.”
Mr Stokes, along with six other men, was arrested as part of Operation Pallial, a National Crime Agency investigation into allegations of historic sexual abuse.
Former wrestler and Wrexham sex shop owner Mark Grainger, formerly known as Gary Cooke, aged 64, from Galway Road, Leicester, was convicted of 11 charges of indecent assault, three charges of serious sexual assault and two charges of indecency with a child.
David Lightfoot, aged 72, a Wrexham publican in the 1980s from Parklands View, Little Sutton, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, was convicted of six charges of indecent assault on a male, two serious sexual assault charges, and one attempted serious sexual assault. But he was cleared of a charge of indecency with a child.
Former local radio presenter Roy Norry, aged 55, from Hamilton Road, Connah’s Quay, was convicted of five charges of indecent assault on a male, one charge of serious sexual assault and was cleared of one charge of attempted serious sexual assault and one indecent assault.
All three were remanded in custody pending sentence.
Neil Phoenix, 63, of Windsor Road, New Broughton, Wrexham, was found guilty of the one charge he faced, indecent assault on a boy at the home of Gary Cooke, who was alleged to have been at the centre of a paedophile ring in the 1980s.
Pheonix, who denied the charge, was convicted by a 10 to two majority by the jury and was bailed pending sentence.
Former Metropolitan police officer Julian Huxley, 70, who at the time worked as a civil servant at Wrexham Barracks, was convicted of two charges of indecent assault on the main complainant, by a 10 to two majority. Huxley, who had denied the charge, was also bailed in the meantime.
Retired teacher and former children’s home owner Roger Griffiths, 76, of Coed Efa Lane, New Broughton, Wrexham, was cleared of two charges of indecent assault on the main complainant.
Judge Rhys Rowlands thanked the jury for their work and said the defendants had received a meticulously fair trial and the jury had considered the evidence objectively but with compassion.
He adjourned the case to a date to be fixed when all barristers in the case are available.