A 41-year-old Worcester solicitor has been cleared of child cruelty after the prosecution dropped the case against him.

But Richard Hadley of Worcester Road, Claines, agreed to the court imposing a restraining order on him for the next three years.

The order made by Judge William Hart at Gloucester Crown Court prevents Hadley from contacting three named people, two of them children under 10, and forbids him from entering certain areas of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

At an earlier hearing Hadley had denied a charge of assaulting, ill treating or abandoning a child in a way likely to cause unnecessary injury to health.

A trial had been listed for Wednesday, June 16, but Anne Vigars, prosecuting, told the court that the Crown Prosecution Service was no longer proceeding with the case.

She said: “One of the matters all of us engaged in the case have been concerned with was whether there is any more sensible resolution which does not require litigation.

“Your honour has the power after acquittal to impose a restraining order if it is necessary to protect people from harassment.

“We ask the court to make such an order in terms which I have set out.”

She said the order sought to prevent “accidental meetings” between Hadley, the children concerned in the case and an adult person.

Hadley’s defence did not contest the making of the restraining order but asked that it should be for two years rather than the five years proposed by the prosecution.

Judge Hart said he felt three years was the right length for the order and ruled accordingly.

Miss Vigars then offered no evidence on the charge against Hadley and the judge formally recorded a not guilty verdict.

The judge told Hadley: “I suspect that will be a great relief to you.

“I am going to make a restraining order under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 for three years.

“I consider that to be the period necessary to protect the named parties from harassment.

“It is, of course, open to any party to apply to the civil court for an order by way of injunction should there be any continung difficulties.

“I hope that will put an end to this case.

“The fact that I am ordering a restraining order in no way diminishes the fact that you have been acquitted of this charge.”

The judge made a defendant’s costs order in favour of Hadley.