Stu­dent cleared in tragic rape case af­ter 2 years of ‘ life on hold’

Daily Mail - - News - By Andy Dolan

AN UN­DER­GRAD­U­ATE con­demned po­lice and pros­e­cu­tors yes­ter­day af­ter his life was placed ‘on hold’ for two years when a fel­low stu­dent ac­cused him of rape – and trag­i­cally went on to take her own life.

El­gan Var­ney, 33, called for those ac­cused of sex­ual as­saults to be granted anonymity un­til con­vic­tion so that innocent peo­ple avoided a ‘ night­mar­ish’ as­so­ci­a­tion with the crimes.

He said such ac­cu­sa­tions re­mained only ‘one click away on Google’, adding: ‘ The pen­du­lum has swung too far and fair­ness and bal­ance needs to be re­stored so that the pre­sump­tion of in­no­cence is not com­pletely eroded.’

Mr Var­ney was for­mally ac­quit­ted of rap­ing Keele Univer­sity stu­dent Han­nah Stubbs, 22, on the day his trial had been due to start yes­ter­day, when a Crown Prose­cu­tion Ser­vice re­view con­ducted ‘ at the high­est level’ con­cluded there was not a re­al­is­tic prospect of con­vic­tion.

It is un­der­stood that Miss Stubbs had told him Mr Var­ney that she had been raped by a pre­vi­ous part­ner, and that th­ese claims would have been aired in court. For­mer pri­vate school­girl Miss Stubbs took her own life in the fam­ily home in Au­gust 2015, five months af­ter go­ing to po­lice.

In a state­ment read by his so­lic­i­tor out­side Stoke on Trent Crown Court yes­ter­day, Mr Var­ney of­fered his con­do­lences to Miss Stubbs’s fam­ily, but said he had been ‘to­tally ex­on­er­ated’.

He con­tin­ued: ‘I have en­dured two years of un­told stress fight­ing to clear my name.

‘My anger and frus­tra­tion is directed at the po­lice and the CPS who have had over- whelm­ing ev­i­dence from the out­set that no crime was com­mit­ted. The re­al­ity is that false al­le­ga­tions only harm the cause of those with a gen­uine com­plaint.’

Mr Var­ney had been ac­cused of rap­ing Miss Stubbs twice be­tween Oc­to­ber 2014 and Fe­bru­ary 2015.

Miss Stubbs’s par­ents, Paul, 52, an en­tre­pre­neur, and Mandy, 50, a nurse, said in a state­ment that their ‘over­whelm­ing feel­ing is one of loss’. The cou­ple did not at­tend court.

Keele Univer­sity said it would talk to Mr Var­ney about a pos­si­ble re­turn cam­pus.

‘Trou­bled’: Ac­cuser Han­nah Stubbs took her own life

Case dropped: Mr Var­ney

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