An Ashfield councillor cleared of child sex charges says the 950-day ordeal has ruined him financially – and he is still afraid to go shopping alone.
Councillor Jason Zadrozny said his life and career were ruined by false allegations of historical sexual abuse.
The 37-year-old also questioned why the police and Crown Prosecution Service failed to uncover an apparently fatal flaw in their evidence for almost three years.
Nottingham Crown Court heard last month that prosecutors would not be offering any evidence, because there was “no realistic prospect of conviction”.
The judge told Coun Zadrozny, an Ashfield Independents member of both Ashfield District and Nottinghamshire County councils, he was “not guilty on all counts”.
Coun Zadrozny said: “My life has changed beyond recognition. I never go shopping now until late at night, when I know the supermarkets will be empty. I can be walking down the street and someone will call me a paedophile.
“I’m broke. Clearing my name has taken almost every penny I had. And I lost my chance to represent the area where I grew up in Parliament.”
He was forced to withdraw from the 2015 general election, where he was standing for the Liberal Democrats against Labour incumbent Gloria De Piero, after news of the case broke.
Coun Zadrozny said: “It has cost me a fortune in legal fees The people who have known me have been incredibly supportive – it is the people who don’t know me who say there is ‘no smoke without fire’.
“People are becoming more accepting – I hope people have seen the truth.
“But it is now become a familiar part of my habits. If I have a street letter to deliver I don’t go out on my own. I have got into that habit and it does change your life a lot.
Coun Zadrozny says he is still taking legal advice on suing Nottinghamshire Police.
He said: “I would be delighted if I could get the money back I spent on my defence, but it doesn’t get back your sanity. It has taken a tremendous toll on my life.”
“Not only that, it has cost taxpayers more than £100,000.”