An 86-year-old man says the ordeal of being tried for sexually assaulting a female priest left him stressed, bitter and caused his health to decline.

Primo King, of Wallwood Road in Leytonstone, was found not guilty by a jury at Snaresbrook Crown Court last week after more than a year of legal proceedings.

Mr King, better known as Fred, was bailed four times and appeared in court on numerous occasions after police first approached him in November 2012.

“I feel very disturbed about it,” he told the Guardian.

“It was very stressful, I lost weight, I wasn’t eating, I wasn’t sleeping, I wasn’t concentrating properly. It did an awful lot to me because I had nobody to lean on.”

The priest, who Mr King says is in her 60s, claimed that on November 1 he invited her to his home and molested her while his partner was undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

His partner Jean died one month after the alleged incident.

“There was no reason to get me put in a police cell for something I haven’t done,” he said.

“The allegations she made meant the police banged me in a cell for about three hours.”

Mr King says he and the woman kissed willingly on the day in question, but added that when she expressed reservations about doing so she left without incident.

“That day the romance started we were both willing,” he said.

“I kissed, she kissed, then she said to me we shouldn’t be doing things like this, so I said ‘OK, you can leave’ so she left,” he said.

“Then the lady who manages my home said the police are trying to pick you up and I said ‘What?!’”

He said he feels relieved that the ordeal is over and that justice was finally done.