Actor who accused Conservative MP Ken Clarke of sexually assaulting him cleared of perverting the course of justice

Ben Fellows had claimed he had been molested by Conservative MP Kenneth Clarke in the office of a lobbyist in 1994

Click to follow
The Independent Online

An actor who accused former chancellor Ken Clarke of sexually assaulting him has been cleared of perverting the course of justice.

Ben Fellows, 40, from Birmingham, alleged that the Tory MP had plied him with alcohol and carried out the sexual assault in the office of a lobbyist while he was working as an undercover actor on a cash-for-questions sting for ITV's Cook Report in 1994.

Mr Clarke insisted he had never in his life “had the compulsion” to grope another man and dismissed the claim as "preposterous", “off the Richter scale” and “like Martians landing”.

A jury at the Old Bailey today took eight hours to find Mr Fellows, of Olton, Solihull, not guilty of perverting the course of justice between November and December 2012.

The court had heard how, in the autumn of 2012, Mr Fellows told national news reporters about the alleged assault when he was 19 years old and stories were published in print and in his own blog.

He went on to make a statement to police officers from Operation Fairbank, the high-profile investigation into Westminster historic child sex abuse.

The court heard that officers found Mr Fellows’ version of events to be false and began treating him as a suspect rather than a victim.

The former child actor - described in court as "an inventive and sometimes persuasive fantasist" - had also claimed he had been abused by a number of people in the entertainment industry, including a senior female executive at the BBC.

Giving evidence in his defence, Mr Fellows maintained that he had been groped by Mr Clarke in the office of lobbyist Ian Greer.

Asked by his defence lawyer, Bernard Richmond QC, if he had any doubt about it, he replied: “No.”

He told jurors he was not very knowledgeable about politics and did not even know who John Major was, but insisted it was Mr Clarke because they had been introduced.

Mr Richmond said: “[Mr Clarke] is clear in his evidence that he had never, ever met you before. Is there any possibility that you could be mistaken?”

Mr Fellows said: “I don't believe so.

“However, when I came forward I was under the impression that the video tapes still existed so if I was lying or mistaken that could be proven.”

Asked if he had anything personal against Mr Clarke, he said: “No, nothing whatsoever, apart from what happened in that office.

"I did not take it personally. I was part of the team.”

Veteran broadcaster Roger Cook told the trial he had never even heard of Fellows until someone pointed out his blog claiming to have worked on The Cook Report in 1990.

He told the court that particular show was never aired and if there had been any allegations around at the time, it would have been “an enormous story”.

Additional reporting by Press Association