A MAN cleared of rape broke down in tears as he revealed how the allegations had ruined his life.
Richard Gallighan was accused of hiding his identity to have sex with the alleged victim on a sofa – just after the man she initially had intercourse with had gone to the toilet.
The 27-year old denied rape during his trial at Teesside Crown Court, insisting that they had consensual sex and that the woman knew who he was.
Yesterday, a jury found Mr Gallighan not guilty of rape.
Once outside of the courtroom he broke down in tears and spoke to the Mail about “the weight being lifted” from his shoulders.
The jobseeker, of Whinn Meadows, Hartlepool, said: “I’m still shaking. I’m over the moon with the result, I’m glad it’s over.
“I’m not the type of lad who’d do something like that.
“It’s ruined my life and I’ve lost friends over it. But I’m just glad my name has been cleared.”
Mr Gallighan, who was supported in court by his family, said he was “shocked and scared” when police arrested him for the alleged crime.
“It’s not the normal thing that you have to go through,” he said.
“It’s been horrible.
“My family and my girlfriend have supported me, I wouldn’t have coped without them.
“It was like a huge weight being lifted off my shoulders when the jury said not guilty. I was properly scared, my life was in their hands.
“I’m just glad it’s all over. Hopefully I’ll be able to get a job now.”
The woman at the centre of the case, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claimed she had just had consensual sex with another man on a couch.
Prosecutors tried to claim that when the other man went to the toilet, Gallighan pretended to be him and got under the quilt.
The woman claimed to have had sex willingly but believed it was the other man and was left in a state of shock when she saw who it really was.