A GAMEKEEPER wept in the dock as he was unanimously cleared on charges of assault and damage over allegations he drove at a child and threatened to kill his friends.

David Rhodes, 34, of Pennant Cottages, Llandegla, pleaded not guilty to three charges - assault occasioning actual bodily harm to one boy and damaging his bicycle after allegedly striking it with his four by four vehicle, and common assault upon a second boy.

Rhodes denied that any such incident had happened and was cleared by the jury, who took more than two hours to reach its verdict at Mold Crown Court.

It was alleged by the prosecution that Rhodes had been left fuming because the boy and his friends had been “abusive” towards his pregnant wife on May 12 this year.

Prosecuting barrister John Philpotts told how the three friends had been riding their bikes in the grounds of Bodidris Hall near Llandegla when Rhodes turned on them while driving his blue Land Rover. He went on to accuse Rhodes of driving the vehicle at the 13-year-old boy, who was forced to jump out of its path and then lashing out at the boy’s 12-year-old pal.

Mr Phillpotts said: “They became aware the Land Rover was driving back towards them. It looked as though it was travelling fast. He (Rhodes) had turned and he deliberately drove at the boys. The boy (the 13-year-old) realised to his horror that it was heading straight for him at speed. He was frightened it was going to strike him - he was so frightened that he wet himself through fear.”

When giving his evidence Rhodes said he had only told the boys to not be so cheeky but denied touching them in any way, or driving at them. Rhodes, a man of no previous convictions, said he had seen them on the lane but did not drive at them.

Rhodes said he had no idea how the bicycle was damaged and accused the children of telling “a pack of lies”.

Two mothers had previously told the jury that they found their sons crying and trembling with fear. One boy’s bicycle, a birthday present, was said to be damaged beyond repair.

Judge Niclas Parry told the defendant that he had been found not guilty and he could be discharged.