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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 January, 2005, 10:06 GMT
Abuse campaigner cleared of fraud
Steven Messham
Steven Messham said his life had been "unbearable"
A leading figure in the fight against child abuse in north Wales has been cleared of benefit fraud.

Steven Messham, 42, denied making false claims to receive housing, income and council tax benefits worth 33,000 from 1995 to 2000.

A jury at Chester Crown Court found him not guilty of five accounts of false accounting on Tuesday.

Outside court, Mr Messham, of Buckley, Flintshire, said his life "had been on hold for four years".

The jury had heard that Mr Messham was a key figure in setting up the landmark inquiry by Sir Ronald Waterhouse into child abuse in care homes in north Wales after he had been a victim himself as a youngster.

My life has been unbearable. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't go out. I lost my hous
Steven Messham

He also helped set up Norwas, the North Wales Abuse Survivors support group, to provide counselling for victims.

After the verdict was returned, Judge Stephen Clarke told Messham he was free to get on with his life, saying: " It is over. You may be relieved, but I am as well".

Speaking outside court, Mr Messham said: "It has been four years, one month and 12 days since I was arrested for this.

"Since then my life has been unbearable. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't go out. I lost my house.

"Today is about justice, not compensation, but my life has been on hold for four years and so has my family's."




SEE ALSO:
Abuse campaigner accused of fraud
18 Jan 05 |  North East Wales



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