Ex-police officer cleared of assaulting two children

Phillip McCarthy was cleared of the charges. Picture: Neil Hanna
Phillip McCarthy was cleared of the charges. Picture: Neil Hanna
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A FORMER police officer accused of assaulting two young children has been cleared of all charges.

Phillip McCarthy faced charges of lewd and libidinous practices against an under-age girl by making inappropriate remarks and handling her breasts.

He was also alleged to have attacked a teenage boy on a number of occasions by punching him on the body, and of assaulting the girl by striking her on the naked body with a belt.

The 55-year-old and his partner Jane Kitt were also charged with abandoning a young girl in their care on a number of occasions.

All incidents were said to have taken place between 1986 and 1995.

On Tuesday, Sheriff Jamie Gilmour returned a not proven verdict for McCarthy on the first two charges of assault.

Sheriff Gilmour acquitted the former Lothian and Borders police officer on the lewd and libidinous charge, while he and Kitt, of Gilmerton Road, were found not guilty of child abandonment.

Throughout the trial, McCarthy and Kitt’s defence agents claimed that the couple were being targeted by the alleged victims as part of an extortion scam.

In the five-day trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, the couple – who married earlier this year – gave evidence after the two alleged victims took to the witness stand.

The woman gave evidence in a closed court due to the sensitivity of the allegations. The other alleged victim described the abuse as “horrendous”.

McCarthy wept as he described the allegations as “nonsense” and “upsetting”, while his accountant wife, 61, said she was “disgusted” by the claims. She told the court at an earlier hearing: “I’m embarrassed. It’s been the worst year of my life and I don’t know how I’ll ever get over this.”

When asked how the case had made her feel, Kitt said: “I’m not sleeping, it’s been difficult going to work. I was off for a while . . . I got some counselling, it’s just awful.”

In cross-examination, the witnesses were accused of making up the allegations as no witnesses had ever seen bruises.

kaye.nicolson@edinburghnews.com