A JURY has acquitted a public school teacher of sexually abusing a pupil.

Sean Ambrose Farrell, 50, closed his eyes and wiped away a tear as the verdicts were delivered on Thursday afternoon.

He had repeatedly denied abusing a pupil during music sessions at Ampleforth College in North Yorkshire where he worked in the 1980s.

On Wednesday, Mr Farrell, a University of York graduate and former organ scholar at York Minster, told the jury he had never kissed or touched the boy inappropriately while working at the school.

“That did not happen, ever,” he said.

He also had denied any sexual interest in a male or a child.

Mr Farrell, of Abbeyfield Court, Riddings Road, Ilkley, said he was called in last October by the head teacher at Wellington College, a leading public school in Berkshire, where he taught music, to be told an allegation had been made against him.

“I felt sick that anybody could have made an allegation,” he said. “I didn’t know what it was.”

He fought back tears in the dock as he said he had been suspended by the school and issued with an interim order barring him from teaching, and he had been barred from being alone with his children under bail conditions and unable to live at the family home at the school.

The jury acquitted Mr Farrell of four charges of indecent assault.

In cross-examination, he denied prosecution suggestions he had chosen the boy as possibly being vulnerable through homesickness and groomed him before abusing him.

“Let me make it absolutely clear, no,” he said. “What I did was do my best to help him in his studies.”

Teachers who knew him when he was a pupil at Ampleforth College, later as a fellow member of staff, and after he left the junior school, alleged they had never heard or seen anything about his behaviour with children to concern them and praised his character.

Others who had worked with him as organ scholar or assistant director of music, including Dr Philip Moore, former Master of Music at York Minster, gave similar character references.