An innocent mum's home was egged as she was branded a "kiddie fiddler" following false claims she had sex with a 15-year-old schoolboy.
Karen Seldon was found not guilty of four charges of sexual activity with a minor at Newport Crown Court in October 2015. The 44-year-old was accused of inviting a 15-year-old schoolboy to her home, sleeping with him and sending him a message which read: “Let’s get naughty”.
But a jury decided Seldon was completely innocent and the boy had made up lurid sexual stories about her. Karen criticised the police for dragging her to court, acting on the boy’s word and taking her to court “without any evidence”.
She told the Mirror that her local community where she lived in Abercarn, Caerphilly, turned against her. She says she was even branded a “kiddie fiddler” and a “paedophile” during her 18-month ordeal.
In a telling example of how the case had an impact on her life, the mum described how eggs were thrown at her window, her car was damaged and she was attacked in her home.
She said: “I was completely innocent but the people who need to be questioned are the ones who brought this case to trial.
“I faced a real prospect of going to jail for something I didn’t do. The police charged me with not one shred of evidence apart from this boy’s word. “Even though I’ve been cleared in court I live with the stigma and daily abuse from people who still believe the terrible lies. “This case has cost me my job and my confidence and wasted thousands of taxpayers’ pounds.”
Karen was accused of seducing a 15-year-boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, through Facebook in 2014. She was accused of inviting him to her home and of sleeping with him and was also accused of driving the boy to her home on a second occasion in order to sleep with him but was interrupted by the boy’s mother and aunt. She says her ordeal began when she accepted a friend request on Facebook.
Karen, who has two daughters Katie, 24, and Amie, 16, said: “He looked like a typical teenager. Skinny, tall, wearing a hoodie. I didn’t really take too much notice of him.” Two months later, police called at her Abercarn home. “They told me the boy’s mother had made a complaint about me. I couldn’t believe my ears,” she recalled. “They searched my phone and Facebook to see the pictures I had supposedly sent him. They didn’t find any as I had not sent them. “I couldn’t understand why such lies were being made up. I was very upset and angry. “A few nights later, I logged into Facebook and had a message from a close friend who said vicious rumours were being spread about me, saying I’d slept with the boy. “She told me to look on the profiles of a couple of people. “I was horrified that there were vile messages about me saying ‘she is disgusting’ and ‘if it was my son I would give her a good battering’.” After that she says people started banging on her door late at night, her car was completely covered in toilet roll and she had eggs and tomatoes thrown at her windows. “I dreaded walking out the door wondering what I might find,” she said.
“From being a bubbly sociable fun-loving person, I didn’t want to go out. I would do a food shop late at night to avoid people.”
When the police came to the house and arrested Karen she described it as “surreal”. She said: “This boy’s mother had claimed he was at my house with just his boxers on. "I realised I was dealing with people on another level. “I had no idea what their motive was to tell such lies. How can one mother do that to another? “I later discovered the police were looking for this boy’s T-shirt.”
Karen spent that night in a police cell and was charged with sexual activity with a minor and had to pose for mugshots and provide fingerprints. She added: “I was told it might be easier to plead guilty as, rather than face up to four years’ jail, I’d just go on the sex offenders register. “But I was never going to plead guilty to something I hadn’t done. I had to believe the jury would see the truth through all his lies.”
Karen, who is now unemployed, said: “I had to leave a job I loved because I kept making mistakes with all the stress, I couldn’t concentrate.
“What happened to me is terrifying because it could happen to anyone.”