‘My Agony Over False Child Sex Charges’

Cardiff City manager Dave Jones has spoken of the 18 months of hell he and his family suffered after he was falsely accused of child abuse. The case was thrown out of Liverpool Crown Court after the Bluebirds manager was initially charged in November 1999 by police in relation to his time as a careworker on Merseyside during the 1980s.

Jones, 50, a former Everton, Coventry and Preston defender, strenuously denied all the allegations and in 2002 he said he believed the shock of the charges killed his father.

Speaking about the ordeal, Jones said the case has had a lasting effect on him and his family, resurfacing recently when Leeds United fans chanted abuse at him. He said: “I’ll probably never find out how much it affected my children because a lot of the time, being in school, they didn’t say what was going on around them.”

Jones, who is also considering writing a book about his ordeal, was in charge of Southampton at the time of his arrest and says the people there helped pull him through.

“The area of Southampton in which we were living, the people were fantastic,’ he said. ‘They coccooned my family. What was good for me is that I had a lot of good friends in and outside the game. And, of course, my family was the most important and we came through it really well.”

The Bluebirds boss was cleared in December 2000, with Judge David Clarke ordering the jury to return not guilty verdicts on all 14 charges. The prosecution’s case collapsed when a witness informed police he would not be giving evidence against Jones.

“In this country you’re supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but I found it was the other way around – I was guilty until proven innocent,” he said. “People think there’s no smoke without fire and that’s a phrase I’ll never use again in my life because there wasn’t a spark to begin with.”