Boston

Driving instructor cleared of sexual assault

A Lincolnshire driving instructor facing a retrial on charges of groping and kissing female pupils was cleared after agreeing to being banned from giving driving lessons.

Keith Warner, who ran a driving school in the Boston area for 10 years, had been cleared of sexual assaults on two of his students at a trial last year. However, the jury failed to reach verdicts on a further nine charges involving three other women.

A retrial was due to begin on Monday (February 11) at Lincoln Crown Court. Before a jury was sworn in the court was told that, in light of “unhappy and tragic circumstances”, the prosecution had agreed to dropping the case if Warner agreed to no longer practice as a driving instructor.

David Lee, prosecuting, said: “Should that course be taken then the Crown will not proceed further with the remaining counts because of all the circumstances. That is an order that could properly be made without the defendant indicating any acceptance of unacceptable behaviour.

“The complainants who remain in this case have heard, before the decision was taken, the proposed course of action of which they have agreed. They didn’t dissent or take any complaint with the course that has been taken.”

Warner, 62, of Outgate, Leverton, Boston, agreed to a 10 year restraining order banning him from working as a driving instructor or from applying for a licence to operate as a driving instructor.

The prosecution then offered no evidence against him on the nine remaining charges of sexual assault and he was formally found not guilty. He had denied all the charges.

Judge Andrew Easteal said: “I am aware of the circumstances including the recent events which are by their very nature unhappy and tragic. In the circumstances I judge that to be a proper course.

“I make the restraining order for a period of 10 years. In the circumstances that will have the effect for practical purposes of making it permanent.”

Warner did not give evidence during his earlier trial but he told police in a series of interviews that he did not inappropriately touch any of the students.

Warner admitted to officers he was tactile but said he had no sexual intentions towards any of them.