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Speedway stars cleared of assault

Darcy Ward.
Darcy Ward. Contributed

TWO Ipswich motorcycle speedway stars have been cleared in a UK court of sexually assaulting a 17-year girl in an English seaside hotel room.

Nick Morris, 17, formerly of Brassall, was cleared three counts of sexual assault while Darcy Ward, 20, from Camira was also found not guilty of sexual assault.

The court heard the pair had gone to the fan's hotel room at the Premier Inn in Poole, Dorset following a speedway event in August 2011.

The prosecution alleged the pair sexually assaulted the heavily intoxicated girl, who had no recollection of the event, filming part of encounter on a mobile phone camera.

Both Ward and Morris denied the claims, maintaining the sex was consensual.

Taking the stand in his defence, Ward told the court "there was a bit of mucking around going on."

"I feel by her actions and the way she was comfortable with all of us there she wanted some sexual action. She was enjoying it." the Bournemouth Echo reported him as saying.

When questioned on Twitter about whether he was nervous as the verdict was read, Ward tweeted "Never had any doubts."

Nick Morris's mother Wendy told the QT her family was relieved the case was now over.

"Nick rang me five minutes after he got out of court. He was obviously very relieved and jubilant the right result came about." Mrs Morris said.

"We're both overjoyed. We had no doubt about the outcome but it's been a nightmare for all involved."

In his closing speech, defence barrister Stewart Jones QC asked the jury to think carefully about consent.

He argued the behaviour of his clients was uncouth but not criminal and the alleged victim had not struggled, or said no during the incident, and had changed her mind only when she had to explain her behaviour.

Both riders will represent Australia in the world team's under-21 tournament in the UK this weekend.

Topics:  motorcycle, rape, sexual assault, speedway, uk


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