A Perth photographer accused of sexually assaulting two children at his home has been acquitted.
A jury found all charges against Clint Budgen were not proven.
The 49-year-old went on trial at Perth Sheriff Court this week, accused of lying in bed with a youngster – then aged between three and six – and rubbing her legs.
It was also alleged that he slapped a 12-year-old girl’s bottom, tickled her, hugged her and on one occasion showed her a photo of a naked woman.
Budgen, of Dunkeld Road, Perth, was cleared after three days of evidence before Sheriff Charles McNair.
He had always denied the allegations and told police at the time of the investigation that he felt he had been “shafted”.
A police investigation was launched into claims made by three young girls, who had regularly visited Budgen at his previous address in an east Perthshire town.
The jury was played Budgen’s police interview, where he denied being sexually attracted to children. “The idea repulses me,” he said.
Visits to his home
Asked about claims he made inappropriate remarks about sex to a 12-year-old, he told investigators that she had asked him for advice.
“I maybe overstepped the boundary, but I was only trying to help her,” he said.
The trial had also heard from a 16-year-old boy who said that children would visit Budgen and “chill” at his house after school.
“He’d just look after us,” he said. “He would be on his iPad or in the garden, speaking to neighbours.”
Asked if anything happened at Budgen’s house that gave him concern, the youngster replied: “No.”
The court also heard from witness Ashley Husband, 24, who described Budgen as a close friend.
“He’s been a real father figure to me,” she said. “Do I trust him? Very much so.”
She also said she had no concerns about anything that happened at the house.
During his police investigation, Budgen told investigators: “This affects me, because in my heart I have done nothing wrong.
“I have been absolutely shafted.”