A MAN accused of indulging in sex games with a 14-year-old has been cleared after being declared 'a victim of his own generosity'.
A crown court jury yesterday threw out the case against Tracy Charles Brotherton, 43, who denied three sexual offence charges against a child under the age of 16.
Defending, Teresa Loftus told the jury: 'His misplaced generosity and kindness may be coming back to haunt him.
'He can do no more than tell you he didn't do these things. He is a man of good character, good convictions, and an honest man.'
Brotherton, known as Steven had denied one charge of inciting a child to engage in a sexual act and two charges of touching a child in a sexual way.
The 14-year-old also claimed Brotherton, who lives in Lache, gave her a teddy bear and his ex-wife's gold pendant with the inscription 'I love you'.
She said they exchanged between 20 and 30 text messages daily, in which Brotherton said he loved her.
Single-parent Brotherton became friends with the complainant's family in October 2003, but got closer to the girl in June last year when he began to give her lifts to work.
He would often offer to help her family out with the use of his car, regularly getting up at 6am. The two families had become so close they even had keys to each other's homes.
On one occasion, he went out and bought a suitcase to lend to the girl for a school trip and she would often watch TV at his home.
'She does come over, I leave the door open, she talks to me and my kids,' he said.
Although admitting texting the complainant, Brotherton said the messages were usually about lifts and were becoming annoying.
He said the complainant was 'obsessed with texting', explaining the 'luv you' messages were a running joke after she noticed how often his son told him he loved him.
In a police interview, he described his relationship with the complainant's family saying 'we get on well, we're one big happy family'.
The girl's mother claimed she had become suspicious when she saw the two being over familiar. She told the court she thought her daughter's behaviour had changed.
'Her mobile phone was super-glued to her. All of a sudden it was very private. She even slept with her phone,' she said.
She said she overheard a whispered conversation between the two, with Brotherton asking her daughter to come round and later confronted her.
'She told me she was seeing Steven Brotherton,' she said.
Prosecuting, Andrew Thomas said: 'This is a 43-year-old charged with sexual offences with a 14-year-old. He built up an affectionate relationship with her.'
He added: 'Steven Brotherton has no previous convictions. He is a nice, extremely generous man. He is kind, well-meaning, devoted to his children and looks after them. But nice men can do bad things.'
Brotherton walked free from Chester Crown Court after the jury returned a not guilty verdict on all three counts.