A teacher from Welton has thanked his colleagues for their support after he was cleared of sexual allegations made by a 16-year-old girl.
Former para Richard Cross, 51, walked free from Lincoln Crown Court at the end of a two week trial after a jury found him not guilty of all ten charges he faced.
Mr Cross, who served in the Falklands War and Northern Ireland, had denied any inappropriate behaviour towards the teenager after retraining to become a teacher in the Lincoln area.
The father-of-two, who began teaching history in 2002 and then changed to design and technology for a “new challenge”, was accused of kissing the girl, putting his hand inside her trousers and touching her breasts.
It was also claimed he encouraged the girl to take photographs of herself and even gave her a camera.
But after steadfastly denying the allegations, and recruiting the help of some of his fellow teachers to prove his innocence, Mr Cross was cleared of all the charges.
After walking free from court Mr Cross said: “My colleagues were fantastic. They helped my legal team and 20 staff gave evidence for me.
“Teachers, pastoral assistants and teaching assistants all spoke up for me.
“My life was in the jury’s hands. All through my life, even when I was in the army, I’ve been in control. I’ve been able to forge my destiny as best I can.
“This was the first time I’ve had absolutely no control on my destiny.”
The prosecution had alleged Mr Cross breached his position of trust by acting in a sexually inappropriate way towards the girl - but the jury heard evidence from 17 other members of staff at the school who lined up to give evidence in his defence.
“Teaching was what I enjoyed doing. I used to take a history trip each year and I think I could talk from first hand experience,” Mr Cross added.
“The kids enjoyed my lessons. My life was turned upside down.”
The jury heard Mr Cross also trained as a nurse, worked for a charity helping refugees in Kosovo and completed an engineering degree after leaving the army with ten years service.
Cross, off Heath Close, Welton, denied nine charges of sexual activity with a child while in a position of trust during 2011 and a single charge of inciting a child to engage in pornography.