'It ruined me' - dad tells how allegations wrecked his life after being cleared of child sex offences
A FATHER said he fought “tooth and nail” to be cleared of a catalogue of child sex abuse charges.
Martin Begley, aged 47, was unanimously cleared by a jury of the offences, which were alleged to have taken place in Bolton between January, 2007, and November, 2008.
Police put out wanted appeals before he was arrested in April and he spent six months on remand at Forest Bank prison in Agecroft until he was acquitted earlier this month at Bolton Crown Court.
Mr Begley, from Halliwell, said: “The case has ruined me, it’s destroyed me. I used to have the Fur and Feather Pest Control business, but now I have nothing.
“It was terrifying thinking that you might be found guilty.
“It’s so scary as it is not just you that is found guilty, it is what it does to everybody else around you.
“There were times when I thought I would be better off dead. It would be easier for my daughter to tell people her dad was dead than that I was accused of being a paedophile.” And Mr Begley stressed people contacting police with false allegations would prevent real victims from coming forward.
He added: “When I got the not guilty verdicts, I collapsed.
“When the jury first saw me I felt like they looked at me like I was scum, but when they heard evidence by the middle of the second day it was totally different.”
Mr Begley said the thing he found most difficult while on remand was not being able to see his 17-year-old daughter due to the allegations he faced. He added: “Other prisoners would spit at us through the wires. They didn’t care that some of us were on remand. I felt like people thought you were guilty as soon as soon as you go into the prison. It can break you.”
Still emotional from his experience, he said he was disturbed by the way some of the sex offenders on his wing spoke freely about crimes they had committed.
He added that he had feared the lengthy sentence he would face if the jury had not believed him.
He is now hoping to put the trial behind him and rebuild his life.
Mr Begley wished to thank his family and friends for supporting him, as well as his barrister, Brian McKenna.