Family of student cleared of rape went through '15 months of absolute hell'


The family of a student cleared of rape and sexual assault said they have been through 15 months of "absolute hell".

Louis Richardson, the 21-year-old former secretary of Durham University's prestigious Union Society debating club, was suspended from his history studies after he was accused of raping and sexually assaulting one student and sexually assaulting another.

A jury at Durham Crown Court took less than three hours to clear him of all four charges, following a trial which lasted six days.

Outside court, he hugged his mother who has sat through the trial with his father and grandfather.

For much of the hearings his parents held hands as intimate details of their son's sex life were revealed to the jury.

Mr Richardson, who is from Jersey, clasped his hands tightly as the jury filed back in to court to return their verdicts. He remained motionless when the four "not guilty" verdicts were read out by the foreman.

In a family statement outside court, they said: "It has been 15 months of absolute hell for the whole family.

"We are relieved that justice has been done and would like to thank the jury."