Published: 11:10, 19 January 2012
| Updated: 12:58, 19 January 2012
A Kent karate instructor spoke of his relief today after being cleared of rape.
Martial arts expert Archie Grassom, 54, had been accused of grooming one of his teenage students.
But a jury at Canterbury Crown Court acquitted the married dad on all eight charges of rape, indecent assault and indecency with a child.
Just before telephoning his wife Georgie to tell her the news, Mr Grassom said: "This case almost cost me everything - my marriage, my career, my home... and even my dog!
"It has been a living hell for the past three years. I just thank God that justice has finally been done."
Mr Grassom, of Monks Hill Cottages, Smarden, has denied the charges that were alleged to have happened years ago.
The former Kent detective constable - a firearms expert who helped guard the home of the Foreign Secretary at Chevening House - had been suspended from teaching children after the allegations.
He said: "I have been able to train adults - but now at last I will be able to get my life back on track.
"My wife, Georgie, has been a diamond and has stood behind me all along. She has been wonderful.
"As a police officer I have seen justice from a different point of view, but being at the receiving end has shown me that it has been worth keeping my confidence in the system.
"I can't believe its over. It has been a nightmare but at least it's over now."
On his personal website, the expert has written: "Having competed, taught and refereed for over 33 years the time spent in the pursuit of truth, self knowledge and true martial spirit has been a wonderful and often eventful journey."
And among the people he has trained are Rangers manager Ally McCoist and Jamiroqui percussionist Sola Akingbola.
Mr Grassom had told the jury he had been involved in karate since he was 15 and had taught the art for 30 years.
In 1986, he joined Kent Police and became a detective constable - leaving in 1998 after suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
"I have never sexually assaulted or raped this girl," he said. "But I did have consensual sex with her twice - when she was 16. I feel ashamed and very regretful."