Monday 31 May 2010 | Celebrity news feed

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Former Emmerdale actor Ben Freeman cleared of rape

Ben Freeman, the former Emmerdale actor, has been cleared of raping a girl he met on holiday in Barbados.

 
Emmerdale star Ben Freeman cleared rape
Ben Freeman has been cleared of rape Photo: PA

Mr Freeman, who played mechanic Scott Windsor in the ITV1 soap, had been accused of raping the girl after they met at an exclusive holiday resort in 2006.

The 28-year-old actor had admitted he knew the girl was 16 at the time but argued she never resisted his advances as he denied the charge at the High Court in Bridgetown, Barbados.

The girl, from Cheshire, had told the court she had got to know the actor while on holiday, and that he had raped her when he pinned her down on a sun lounger after walking on the beach.

Mr Freeman had told the court the sex had been consensual.

The jury took 90 minutes to reach an unanimous not guilty verdict and clear the actor of the allegations which have dogged him over the last two years.

Standing in the dock, Mr Freeman bowed his head slightly as the verdict was returned.

Some of his friends and family shouted "yes" while others started crying as the verdict was read out.

The girl, who will remain anonymous, broke down in tears once the actor had left the court.

Speaking outside the court, Mr Freeman said: "I'm grateful to be vindicated by the jury's verdict and am looking forward to spending time with my family and close friends who have been enormously supportive to me over the past two years."

Barbados's director of public prosecutions, Charles Leacock QC, had earlier told the jury Mr Freeman wanted a "fast and nasty" job, "a quickie to satisfy nothing but his adamant lust."

Mr Freeman claimed the pair began kissing one evening after fooling around in the hotel pool and then went on to have sex on a nearby lounger - at no point did she ask him to stop.

Sales consultant James Broughton said he was on a friend's lounger by the hotel swimming pool when he overheard "pleasurablesounds".

He admitted taking photographs of the pair and selling them to a tabloid newspaper for £1,500, although he said he was not aware of the rape charges until two days after he had seen the pair.

Anesta Weekes QC, defending, said the girl's own evidence in court contradicted what she had told police and magistrates.

Ms Weekes said the girl "panicked" when she realised "it was all going to come out in the photographs" and "made that dreadful choice to lie to please her parents who had beaten her up".

 
 
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