School-run driver cleared of abuse
A SCHOOL-RUN taxi driver accused of child abuse told the Post he is "relieved" after being formally cleared of all charges.
It was claimed Stephen Monaghan tried to get an eight-year-old girl to touch him improperly, showed her films of people being "rude" and beat her with a belt, Bristol Crown Court was told.
The court was told he also showed a six-year-old boy pornography and beat him. When the allegations came to light police analysed computers at his home and discovered 45 indecent images of children.
The 44-year-old, of Selbrooke Crescent, Frenchay, denied two charges of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, two charges of causing a child to watch a sexual act and cruelty to an under 16-year-old, regarding the girl.
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He denied causing a child to watch a sexual act and cruelty to an under 16-year-old, regarding the lad.
He also denied six counts of making indecent photographs of youngsters.
A trial was halted on May 17, after the Crown Prosecution Service conceded they were unable to prove their case involving the indecent images.
Yesterday James Bennett, prosecuting, said after further consideration of the remaining allegations the Crown was offering no evidence regarding them.
Mr Monaghan had previously admitted possessing 12g of plant material cannabis for personal use in 2010.
Rosaleen Collins, defending, said her client had not worked since suffering a second stroke in 2007.
She said: "He has had quite a difficult time since his arrest in 2010.
"The stress of this case has taken its toll. He has lost weight and been unable to sleep."
Judge Michael Roach gave him a 12-month conditional discharge, recognising his early guilty plea for possessing cannabis, poor health and the fact that he may well have been cautioned for his cannabis possession in 2010.
Mr Monaghan told the Post: "I feel relieved justice has been done."