AN elderly music teacher has been cleared of indecently assaulting a young pupil 30 years ago.

It took a jury at Bolton Crown Court one hour and 45 minutes to find 84-year-old Joseph Arnold Thornton not guilty of the offence, said to have been committed whilst he was teaching a 12-year-old girl to play keyboard.

During the three-day trial the jury heard how the pupil, now a 42-year-old woman, had gone to Mr Thornton for lessons above an organ shop in Tonge Moor Road in 1984.

She alleged that, after she had been having lessons for two years, on one occasion he put his hand inside her dress and touched her breast.

But Mr Thornton, of Montserrat Road, Johnson Fold, denied the allegation.

Although he could not recognise the girl, he accepted he had taught her but stressed that he never indecently assaulted her or behaved inappropriately to her.

He stressed to the jury that, as a teacher, he was “a battle axe — a very strong teacher, very opinionated and most of all I was very much liked”.