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