"BECAUSE of the hell I've been through it didn't feel real. I didn't realise it could be over."
That was how Wayne Beardsell felt when he found his name had been cleared.
The Milnsbridge man had been due to face trial at Bradford Crown Court next month on two counts of sexual activity with a child.
But on October 5 he was summoned to the court to be told the prosecution would be offering no evidence.
The case against him had collapsed.
Mr Beardsell, 36, said: "It took some sinking in. It was like a dream."
Early last year a 14-year-old girl alleged that Mr Beardsell had sexually abused her.
The father-of-four was then grilled by Huddersfield police for six hours.
He said: "I've never been in trouble before, so being in a police station was new to me. It was like school, but a lot worse."
Then in February he heard the terrible news that he had been charged and would face trial.
Mr Beardsell was shocked.
He said: "I couldn't believe it. Because it had taken so long I thought the case would be dropped.
"I was in Huddersfield Magistrates' Court three times after that, always worrying that someone I knew would see me."
Throughout his ordeal the support of wife of three years Helen was crucial.
Mr Beardsell said: "I'm so happy that she stuck by me through this."
The couple's two sons, Ethan, five and Harley, three, are too young to understand what their dad has been going through.
But his step-daughters, Kirstin, 11, and 10-year-old Zoe, are not and Mr Beardsell said: "They've been superb.
"They always wished me well before I went to court."
When the case went to Bradford Crown Court in July it was featured in the Examiner for the first time.
But Mr Beardsell didn't hide away.
He said: "I held my head up high and went to the same places I always go."
He is a keen sportsman, playing football for Honley and cricket for Slaithwaite.
He said: "Nobody said anything to me on the cricket pitch, but a couple of opposing football players tried to wind me up.
"I just ignored them and tried to be a bigger man for the sake of my family."
And, facing a possible prison sentence, the building worker also had to think of his family's financial needs.
"I've worked even more than normal," said the employee of John Doyle's, who is now working on a new supermarket in Hull.
"I normally work 60 to 65 hours a week, but through this ordeal I was doing 80 to 90, to build up savings just in case I went to jail."
Now he has been cleared Mr Beardsell's life is getting back to normal.
He said: "I was only getting three or four hours sleep, but it's getting better. The alarm wakes me up these days."
But he knows that no court ruling can fully remove the stigma of being accused of such a terrible crime.
He said: "It's human nature that some people will assume there's no smoke without fire.
"But I hope that time will be a great healer."