A man who spent three years in prison for sexually abusing a little girl has been cleared of any wrongdoing and set free.
Andrew Dixon, then 39, was found guilty after a trial in March 2017 of two sexual assaults on a child under the age of 13.
At his sentencing, defence lawyers said Mr Dixon, of Grasmere Road, Formby, "vehemently" denied any attacks on the child.
Mr Dixon – who had no previous convictions – laughed in the dock when the girl's mum described how she and her daughter were affected.
He shook his head and expressed disbelief to supporters in the public gallery, before crying when he was jailed for nine years.
The ECHO can now report that Mr Dixon had his two convictions quashed by the Court of Appeal in London on June 23 this year.
It is understood that medical evidence – key to the prosecution case – was successfully challenged by defence lawyers.
On June 24, top judges ordered that Mr Dixon be retried at Liverpool Crown Court and arraigned within two months.
However, on July 24, prosecutors decided to offer no evidence against Mr Dixon on both counts of sexual assault.
As a result, Judge Andrew Menary, QC, entered formal not guilty verdicts against the now 42-year-old.
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Mr Dixon was designated "an offender of particular concern" when jailed for nine years, with an additional year on licence, on March 29, 2017.
This type of sentence meant that he would have had to spend at least four and a half years in prison, before he could apply for parole.
And he would only have been released before the end of the nine years if a parole board decided he was no longer a risk to the public.
Mr Dixon was also told to sign on the Sex Offenders Register and to comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and restraining order indefinitely.
These orders have now been revoked, but last month prosecutors applied for a "restraining order on acquittal", on behalf of the girl's mum.
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This application was refused by Judge Menary.
At the sentencing three years ago, the girl's mum said her daughter was confused and suffered night terrors, and she herself underwent counselling.
Mr Dixon laughed and smirked when the woman's statement was read out in court, before gesturing to supporters and holding his head in his hands.
Sarah Holt, defending, said he was a man of "positive good character", adding: "The defendant vehemently maintains his denials despite the convictions.
"Your honour heard from numerous witnesses who were called or read out as part of the defence case as to the positive aspects of his character."
Stories from Liverpool Crown Court
However, Judge David Aubrey, QC, said the jury were sure of his guilt and the little girl's life would never be the same again because of what happened.
At this point Mr Dixon stood up and put his hands on the glass window of the dock, before he was persuaded to sit down by a dock officer, then started crying.
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