The violinist, who had denied the charge, was also head of strings at the Royal Northern College of Music
Former Royal Northern College of Music head of strings Malcolm Layfield has been cleared of raping an 18-year-old student in the early 1980s when he was a violin teacher at Chetham’s School of Music in the UK (pictured). A jury at Manchester Crown Court took less than 90 minutes to acquit Layfield, who had denied the allegation.
Layfield had admitted having ‘inappropriate sexual relationships’ with several former students, including his accuser, but pleaded not guilty to the rape – said to have happened in the back of his car at a camp in Cornwall, the summer after she left the school.
Following the initial incident, the two had a consensual relationship, but the accuser had claimed she ‘went along’ with the affair as she was under Layfield’s ‘power and influence’, which was ‘critical’ to the success of her career.
‘Today's unanimous verdict comes as a huge relief to Malcolm Layfield who would like to thank friends, family and his legal team and all those who have supported him over the last two years,’ said Layfield's solicitor Matthew Claughton.
Pianist Martin Roscoe, who was formerly head of keyboard at RNCM, said he was ‘absolutely shocked’ at the college's decision. ‘On ethical grounds, on moral grounds, that is the behaviour of someone who should not be put in a position of pastoral care, dealing with students of any age, in my view,’ he told the BBC.
Layfield resigned from his role at the RNCM in 2013 after police began investigating allegations made against him as part of Operation Kiso.
The inquiry into sex abuse at Chetham’s and the RNCM began in February 2013, following the conviction of former Chetham’s head of music Michael Brewer, who was jailed for six years and stripped of his OBE. His victim was violinist Frances Andrade, who killed herself after giving evidence at his trial.