A former security dog handler who lost everything after he was wrongly convicted of threatening behaviour says he is determined to get his life back on track.
James Taylor, 21, was a fully trained security guard when he was convicted after an incident near his houseboat in October last year.
As a result, his security licence was revoked by the Security Industry Authority and he lost his job and car, had to give up his beloved guard dog Vadar and eventually had to move out of his home as he could not afford the rent.
He has been fighting to clear his name ever since and finally had his conviction overturned. Judges said what had happened to him was "little less than horrifying".
Speaking for the first time since the ruling, James who is still homeless and sofa-surfing at friends’ homes in Medway, said: "It's been awful. I hadn’t done anything wrong – I was just defending my home.
"It's been so unjust but I was determined to clear my name.
"I can now finally get on with my life. Everything has been on hold, but I still don't think I’m completely over it."
James, who is staying with friends in Halling but originally from Gravesend, was convicted in December at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court in London.
It took three months to see his appeal hearing listed at Blackfriars Crown Court, where a judge ruled the conviction should be quashed.
James was a fully-qualified doorman, a member of the National Association of Security Dog Users and trained in dog handling, canine first aid, canine survival ability when the incident happened, in Islington, London.
He had been working a night shift when he came home to his houseboat, moored by a pub, and found pint glasses stacked up against his boat.
As he moved them, several glasses smashed on the floor and a man out walking his dogs demanded James clear up the mess.
"i cried in court when i was convicted, this was my whole life ruined. no one would believe i was innocent…” – james taylor
The pair argued and James called the police, as the man would not leave him alone.
However, James was arrested after the man told police he had threatened him.
He was charged, and sentenced to 16 weeks' custody - suspended for 12 months - ordered to carry out 120 hours' unpaid work and £200 compensation.
James said: "I cried in court when I was convicted, this was my whole life ruined. No one would believe I was innocent. It was the most awful thing I have ever been through.
"I got depressed; I had to give up Vadar as he is a security dog and I was no longer a security guard. It broke my heart as I loved him."
James is now trying to rebuild his life.
He said: "I still can’t get my licence back as I don’t have a permanent address, but I am looking for work and I now want to do something worthwhile in my spare time."
He is hoping to help train dogs who are boisterous, for free, if he can find a venue.
James added: "There are so many young people out there who don’t know how to control their dogs, and I can help them train them to become better animals. I just need somewhere to do it."