Olympic diver Blake Aldridge cleared of common assault

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The Independent Online

Olympic diver Blake Aldridge was today cleared of attacking a supermarket security guard and said he hoped it would help him cast off his image as the bad boy of British diving.

Smartly-dressed in a grey suit, Aldridge spent just nine minutes in the dock at Bromley Magistrates Court before the common assault charge against him was dismissed though lack of evidence.

Aldridge, 28, who came eighth in the 10m synchronised dive at the 2008 Beijing Olympics with the then 14-year-old Tom Daley, spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and address in Bromley, south London.

But after the hearing he said: "I feel no different now to when I was charged - as far I was concerned I was innocent the whole time. It has ruined my reputation and credibility. Hopefully now I can do something positive and go on with my career."

Aldridge had denied attacking a security guard at Tesco in Croydon Road, Beckenham, south-east London, in February.

He perhaps became best known after making a mobile phone call to his mother mid-way through the Olympic final and then blaming Daley's nerves for the pair's placing. A year later Daley went on to become a world champion.

Outside the court Aldridge, who hopes to compete at the London 2012 Olympics, said: "It has had a massive knock-on effect. I used to work for a company going in to schools nationwide encouraging kids in to sport, but once this this got out in the press two schools dropped me because it was like I was not appropriate.

"I feel that for the whole time this has been going on I have been treated like I was guilty but hopefully now I can go back in to schools and try to inspire the children."

Aldridge is suffering from a small tear to his left triceps which forced him to pull out of the 10m dive at the European Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

He is not going to this year's Commonwealth Games, but of London 2012 he said: "I want to take part in it and hopefully I will qualify. I just want to concentrate on getting fit."