Cambridge lecturer was sent home to Derbyshire after being falsely accused of assaulting his fiancee

A Cambridge lecturer from Derbyshire who was 'put through hell' after being accused of assaulting his fiancee has vowed that it won't stop him searching for true love.

Matthew Cooke. Photo SWNS
Matthew Cooke. Photo SWNS

Matthew Baron, 26, was cleared of assaulting fellow Cambridge academic Sophia Cooke by magistrates last Friday during a row after she admitted cheating on him.

Matthew, a PhD student in Earth Science, told JPs she made up the claim as a way of explaining to her parents why their wedding had been called off.

But he has now said that he would not let the ordeal, which left him ostracised by some fellow academics and sent home to Derbyshire, stop him seeking love.

Matthew Baron with ex-fiancee Sophia Cooke. Photo - SWNS

He said: "I'm going to see dating completely differently now, I'm going to be a lot more cautious, but I hope that doesn't make me cynical.

"I have seen people since Sophia and I split, only as small, short term things, but I'm not seeing anyone right now.

"Whenever things are going well with a girl, if they give me their number in the first ten minutes of meeting them, I'm like, 'Wait, why are you being so nice to me?'"

Matthew also spoke of his reaction the first time he saw Sophia, 26, after the court case was over.

Matthew Baron with ex-fiancee Sophia Cooke. Photo - SWNS

He spotted her walking through the centre of Cambridge, a short distance from the flat they shared at Christ's College.

He said: "My heart did skip a beat, but totally different to how it did before- this time, I knew I could hold my head high, I had been completely vindicated, I was innocent.

"I was basically on a small street in Cambridge with my dad (15th September), and she walked past with her friend.

"They definitely saw both of us and pretended to be laughing and joking, they pretended they didn't see us at all.

"I'm not worried about seeing her again because I'm innocent, at the moment I have to focus on my exams and completing my PhD."

Sophia, a zoology student at Cambridge, proposed to Matt three months into their whirlwind relationship, on a trip to meet his father for the first time in Dubai.

She confessed to cheating on him several months after, when she returned from her research trip to the Galapagos Islands.

Matthew said: " I did feel anger at first, I felt awful and it was a terrible feeling.

"I really loved her and cared for her, I wanted to spend my life with her and was ready to do that.

"My parents said the red flags were there all along, from the way they heard us argue.

"Of course, everyone argues, all couples do- and I wouldn't listen to my parents when they said how unpleasant she could be, yes, love is blind."

Sophia claimed that Matthew was livid after she confessed her infidelity to Matthew on their romantic getaway.

She accused him of physically assaulting her, gouging her eyes and destroying her car stereo in a fit of rage.

Matthew was later banned from his own accommodation and college while awaiting the court case, and sent home to Derbyshire.

He added: "I don't blame the college at all for banning me, it was horrible but they worked hard to protect both of us and I'm not angry with them.

"I wasn't allowed back into the college, and I wasn't allowed into my student flat, because it was a "designated safe space" for Sophia.

Matthew described the night that he was arrested, a few days after Sophia's confession.

"At 5.30am (February 15th) , my buzzer rang at my flat. We have a television intercom system thing and I could see two police officers, both male, who asked if they could come in.

"Once they were inside, they didn't leave my side, so they followed me to my bedroom, because I was in my dressing gown, and watched while I put my clothes on.

"It was a bit awkward really- my house mate saw as they hand-cuffed me- and several people outside the pub saw me handcuffed and being pushed into the police riot van.

"I wanted to call my mum but they had confiscated my phone so that they could see my messages, and so that I couldn't contact Sophia.

"I waited quite a few hours for my interview, I was in a cell for quite a long time. "

Before Baron left the station at around 9.30pm that night, he was told that he was being charged with assault by beating and criminal damage.

He said: "My housemate Henry was waiting for me when I left, holding my bag of things and my teddy bear.

"He told me that the college had said I wasn't allowed to return to the college itself, or my student accommodation.

"It was a profitable lie for Sophia to tell because it meant that she had rent free in the flat when she moved back, and that I'd have to move away while she could tell everybody her version of events.

"It was all a cruel and unfeeling lie for Sophia to have told- in that time that I stayed with mum, everybody got to hear her side of the story- they had no reason to believe anything else, there was nothing I could do.

"It's not my place to say if she's mentally unstable, but yes she did manipulate things and her version of events wasn't credible, it was a tale of fantasy.

"Obviously, being in academia, my career is very much based on reputation, and some placements and roles that I have applied for have already turned me down.

"I eventually managed to get the agreement that I was allowed to go back into my department but not into the college.

"But it was like, every part of my life that I tried to get back, she would try to enter- as soon as I got back into the gym, she took out a membership there.

"It grew increasingly depressing as everything was getting ripped away from me. "

"It's going to take me a long time to trust anyone again, I do think that I will be a bit less naive- I was young and in love.

"I don't want this to make me a less soft person, my parents have always said I was a bit soft.

"It's going to take a long time to be normal again, it's so great that I can just go back to things- I can go for a coffee without having to call the college and ask if she's in.

"She had meant the world to me and I was ready to spend the rest of my life and start a family with her.

"Now, I would be pretty much happy to never have any contact with her or her family again.

"I promised to pay my parents and grandparents back everything- in terms of legal fees and everything it's come to the cost of nearly ten thousand pounds- legal fees, the cost of property, lost rent-

"When I told my friends about what was happening, they said it was like a movie because it was just so horrible- one of them said that I was probably the first person on police bail to ever score a goal playing football on the grounds of Christ's College.

"There isn't enough champagne in the world to say how thankful I am- I got the best result possible, I was cleared, found not guilty, I can go on living my life."

Sophia Cooke was unavailable for comment.