FOOTBALL star Titus Bramble says he wants to “move on” after being cleared of four charges of sexual assault.
The Sunderland defender, who lives at Wynyard, was found not guilty at Teesside Crown Court over allegations made by two women after a night out in a Yarm club.
The jury took two hours and 20 minutes to reach its verdicts.
After the four-day trial ended, he said: “It has been extremely tough to have this hanging over me for the last eight months.
“I am naturally delighted that the jury returned not guilty verdicts so quickly and relieved that this awful ordeal is finally over.
“I’ve always said these allegations were false and untrue.”
The defender added: “I would like to thank my solicitor Phil Smith from Tuckers and my whole legal team.
“But it has been especially hard on my family and friends.
“I’d like to thank them for all their love and support during a difficult time. My focus is now on moving forward and getting on with my career.”
Mr Bramble – whose ex-footballer brother Tesfaye Bramble was jailed in August for raping a 19-year-old woman at Newcastle’s Vermont Hotel in September 2010 – stood motionless in the dock as the not guilty verdicts were announced.
During evidence the court heard accusations from two women, both in their 20s, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
The older woman had claimed Mr Bramble had groped her bottom in a nightspot in Yarm last year.
The other three charges related to a taxi ride later the same night, during which Mr Bramble said he kissed the younger woman and put his hand on her leg “just above the knee.”
She told the jury she did not want sexual contact with Mr Bramble and had told him to stop.
But CCTV footage showed her with her arms around Mr Bramble in the club before the taxi ride.
Outside the club she went with him to an alleyway where they kissed again.
Mr Bramble told the jury she had kissed him again passionately in the taxi and did not resist when he put his hand on her leg.
The footballer has no previous convictions or cautions and is a keen supporter of a charity which provides treats to needy children, the court was told.
He supports the charity financially and lets the children and their families use his apartment in Marbella.
The Recorder of Middlesbrough, Judge Peter Fox, discharged Mr Bramble, of Wellington Drive, from the dock and made a defendant’s costs order in his favour.