A CHILDREN'S home worker cleared of assaulting a boy in his care today told how is life has been "turned upside down" by the case.

David Towler, a team leader at an East Lancashire children's home, said he felt 'gutted' when he received the letter from the owners of the home saying his employment had been terminated because of "gross misconduct" on the date of the alleged incident last July.

But he was cleared of causing actual bodily harm after a two-day trial at Burnley Crown Court and is now trying to repair his life.

He said: "My confidence has completely gone because of the way the management have treated me and I can't go back to working with children.

"I would like to go back into child care at some later date but not at the moment. My life has been completely turned upside down."

His union Unison was unable to take action because he had only worked at the home for six months and so was not covered by legislation regarding unfair dismissal. He was also owed wages and accepted a £900 out of court settlement from the company.

Mr Towler, 53, who worked in residential child care for 15 years has now set up a gardening business Brookdale from his home at Brookdale, Walsden, Todmorden.

He was alleged to have banged a 15-year-old boy's head against a wall and kicked a chair at him when the lad was refused a bedtime cigarette -- but lit up anyway.

Mr Towler added: "I bear no malice towards the youngchild. I hope there are no repercussions on him by the rest of the children. "He is a very emotionally disturbed child and I would hate anything to happen to him."

Mr Towler lives with his wife Sheila, and their daughters Lindsey, 25, and Laura, 21, and her daughter Ashleigh, three.

He said: "Ashleigh has been a God-send and I have a lot to thank my family and friends for in helping me and supporting me through what has been a very difficult time."

Robin Lageard, manager of the care home, said Mr Towler was in charge of that shift at the time of the incident and on that basis the directors took the decision to dismiss him.