A MAN accused of raping a nine-year-old girl and her mother has been cleared of all charges following a week long trial at Bolton Crown Court.

The jury took less than two hours to return unanimous not guilty verdicts on nine charges faced by the 28-year-old man, who cannot be named in order to protect the identity of the child.

The man had denied three counts of raping the mother and causing actual bodily harm and two counts of raping the girl, one of digital penetration, causing a child to engage in sexual activity and causing her to watch a sexual act.

During a week long trial the jury heard how the mother had fled to a friend’s Bolton home in her underwear on one occasion after allegedly being raped and police were called.

On one occasion the man was alleged to have said: “I am going to show you who is the boss” but denied he had raped her, telling her “it’s not like that — you are my girlfriend”.

On another occasion the court was told he tried to strangle her and assaulted her so badly that she had to wear three layers of make up to disguise the bruises.

But the 26-year-old woman then withdrew her allegations and let the man back into her life until the girl came home from school one day and revealed that the man had done “rude things” to her.

Colin Buckle, prosecuting, told the jury how, one day, the man had offered to take the nine-year-old girl on a trip to Knowsley Safari Park, staying the night before at a relative’s house.

But during the night he woke her, took her to the sofa and showed her a porn video he was watching.

Another time the man told the girl he was taking her to Toys R Us to buy her a bike. But instead, he drove her to a graveyard where he sexually assaulted her in the car.

Iain Simkin, defending, stressed that there was no medical evidence that the man had raped either mother or child.

He suggested that, as the household had been a volatile one, the child could have preferred it when he was sent to prison for drugs offences.

“Upon his return that tension returns. Might she have thought of some way to get rid of him?” he said. And he added that the mother could have also encouraged her daughter to lie. Consider the risk they had been in collusion,” he said.

As the verdicts were announced there were gasps from the public gallery as the accused left the dock.