HE'S ENDURED a year from hell - but now a Basingstoke man has spoken of his relief after he was cleared of drunkenly flashing at four young girls.

Simon Christian was visibly relieved and hugged his mum after he was found not guilty of indecent exposure after a four-day trial.

The trial verdict marked the end of a nightmare year for the 29-year-old who is also still dealing with the aftermath of being the victim of a vicious attack.

Speaking about the trial ordeal, Mr Christian said: “I can't believe it got this far. There was no truth to the accusation. I would never do that and I have never done anything like that. It's been the hardest week of my life - it's been really awful.”

His acquittal, on Thursday, July 11, came exactly a year after he was subjected to a brutal attack. Boiling water was poured over his body and he was stamped on, kicked and hit over the head with a fryer before his trousers were pulled down and he was tortured with a bottle. His attackers were subsequently brought to justice and put behind bars.

Mr Christian said it took around two months to recover physically from the savage assault, though he still bears significant scars, but added he was still suffering emotionally, and is still having regular therapy sessions.

The allegation of indecent exposure was made against him in December last year.

He said: “When I was told what I was being accused of, I was just gobsmacked. It came out of nowhere and I just couldn't believe it.

“Over the last few months I've definitely learned who my real friends are. It's been very emotional. I've found myself just bursting into tears just when I'm watching the telly. I'm just so relieved it's over”.

Despite the not guilty verdict, Mr Christian said he was still worried about people doubting his innocence.

“It's a horrible thing to be accused of,” he said. “People hear about it and just make their own minds up.”

During the trial held in Southampton Crown Court, jurors heard that that case hinged on the word of the girls against that of Mr Christian.

Mr Christian had been drinking with a group of adults downstairs in a house, while the girls were having a sleepover in a first-floor living room. The prosecution said he had gone into the room while drunk and had dropped his trousers - something he completely denied.

Speaking after her son was cleared, Marge Christian said: “I always knew, right from the start, that he was innocent. He doesn't have it in him to do something like that - he's not like that at all.

“We're not going to be celebrating, as there's nothing really to celebrate. But we will be going out to mark the end of what has been a really difficult time.”

Mr Christian said he is now plans to move on with his life and put the last year behind him.

He said: “I'm actually not angry. I'm more just hurt and frustrated. I'm quite laid-back and I don't wish them (his accusers) ill. My plan now is to carry on with my life, carry on getting therapy, and to put this all behind me.”