Teacher cleared of rap­ing stu­dent

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE -

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.”

Steve Allen

●● A jury cleared Mal­colm Lay­field of rap­ing an 18-year-old mu­sic stu­dent in the 1980s

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