Woman cleared of abusing teenage boy

NOT GUILTY: Susan Cunningham outside Teesside Crown Court.

NOT GUILTY: Susan Cunningham outside Teesside Crown Court.

First published in News
Last updated
Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by , Regional Chief Reporter

A WOMAN accused of sexually abusing a young teenage boy has walked free from court after she was cleared by a jury on all charges.

The prosecution in the case at Teesside Crown Court accused Susan Cunningham of grooming the alleged victim, buying him trainers, CDs and computer games, and also repeatedly lying about her account.

But the defence painted an entirely different picture, describing the now adult complainant - who has previous convictions for robbery and assault - as violent and out of control.

It was also alleged that he forced the “smaller, weaker” defendant to submit to his will, raping her, and on one occasion grabbing her so hard in a headlock that she passed out.

He was also said to have used a stun gun-type weapon against another woman with whom he was in a relationship.

Ms Cunningham, of Dovecote Street, Stockton, told her trial that she never instigated sexual activity as alleged with the teen over a two-year period while he lived in Darlington.

However the 40-year-old did admit visiting him in later years in jail, claiming she did so to see if he had changed.

When she was asked by prosecutor Aisha Wadoodi why she had not complained of her treatment to police when given the opportunity to do so, she said it was because she “forgave” him.

Ms Cunningham also told the jury she was addicted to alcohol and drugs during the period in question and was rarely sober during their encounters, although this was disputed by the complainant.

The jury in the case returned formal ‘not guilty’ verdicts of charges of sexual activity with a child and a series of indecent assaults.

Durham police, which investigated the case, would not comment on the decision to bring charges against Ms Cunningham.

A spokeswoman merely said the force noted the verdict of the court.

The Northern Echo contacted the Crown Prosecution Service for comment, but none was received before publication.

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