Teacher cleared of raping student
AVIOLIN teacher has been cleared of raping an 18-year-old female student in the early 1980s.
Malcolm Layfield, 63, formerly of Higher Poynton and who worked at Chetham’s School of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music, denied the allegation that he used his “power and influence” to commit the alleged offence against the teenager in the back of his car.
The defendant admitted he pursued a number of consensual sexual relationships with students throughout the 1980s which his trial heard were said to be “common knowledge” in classical musical circles in Manchester and further afield.
But the former parttime tutor denied he “crossed the line” on one occasion during a summer music school he staged in Cornwall.
A jury at Manchester Crown Court took less than 90 minutes to acquit Mr Layfield, who showed no emotion as the not guilty verdict on one count of rape was returned.
Mr Layfield’s son and daughter burst into tears in the public gallery as the verdict was returned.
It was said Mr Layfield, of Castle Quay, Castlefield, drove his alleged victim in the middle of the night to an isolated spot and was determined to have sex with her “come what may”. It was claimed that the complainant was drunk on ‘strong alcoholic punch’ made by Mr Layfield at the time.
The complainant, who Mr Layfield taught at Chetham’s and the RNCM claimed she “gave in” at the time - but then went on to have consensual sex with him over the following six weeks. She alleged she was under his “influence and power” as Mr Layfield threatened to take work opportunities away from her if she changed tutors, Manchester Crown Court heard.
Father-of-two Mr Layfield told the jury he was not in a position to “destroy people’s careers”.
Neither did he encourage students to get drunk, the court was told.
Mr Layfield said she willingly got into his car and that sex followed between the pair which was “a mutual thing that happened”. The pair went on to have a sexual relationship, he said, before it later “fizzled out”.
Following the verdict, Layfield’s solicitor Matthew Claughton, from Olliers Solicitors, said: “Today’s unanimous verdict comes as a huge relief to Malcolm Layfield who would like to thank friends, family and his legal team and all those who have supported him over the last two years.”
●● A jury cleared Malcolm Layfield of raping an 18-year-old music student in the 1980s