Teacher at centre of lewd text messages probe cleared

Anthony Stubbs, 16
Anthony Stubbs, 16
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A primary school teacher accused of sending lewd messages to a Leyland teenager, later found hanged, has been cleared after an intervention by Government legal chiefs.

A judge was set to rule on the case of Iwan Harding, 34, after a trial heard he sent sexually explicit text messages to 16-year-old Anthony Stubbs.

But the senior legal advisor to the Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer, ordered the CPS in Wales to drop the prosecution.

At Llandudno Magistrates’ Court, district judge Andrew Shaw was told by prosecutor Julie Hughes: “This was a sensitive case which was reviewed carefully at the highest level and the area was satisfied both the evidential and public interest criteria had been met.

“However, the principal legal adviser to the Director of Public Prosecutions has taken a different view. She is of the view proceedings shouldn’t be proceeded with.”

Judge Shaw told Mr Harding: “There’s no prosecution for me to consider and I find you not guilty.”

The teacher was awarded costs.

He had denied sending grossly offensive or indecent, obscene messages in October.

A CPS spokesman said: “We have reconsidered our position on the allegations against Iwan Harding and informed the court and defence that we no longer believe this prosecution should proceed.”

At an earlier hearing it was alleged Harding and Anthony had met on the Love Leap dating website, on which those who registered are supposed to be at least 18.

The hearing heard police uncovered a bisexual life Anthony had kept concealed.

Father-of-one Anthony and his girlfriend Charlotte Mason, 18, from Leyland Lane, had reportedly argued after she became aware from text messages that he was involved in a relationship with men he was meeting through a website or chat room.

The tragic teenager was found dead in woods in Leyland in January.

His grieving mum Denise Machin, of Southbrook Road, Leyland, did not want to comment on the results of the case until she had more information.