Search: Emmerdale actor cleared
An Emmerdale actor has spoken of his relief at being found not guilty of sexually assaulting a woman in a nightclub.
Lewis Linford, 22, was unanimously cleared of the charge made against him by a semi-professional model, who cannot be named for legal reasons, of fondling her bottom, trying to put his hand up her skirt and asking her to sleep with him while in Pozition nightclub, Hull, in December 2007.
Speaking outside Hull Crown Court, Linford, who played Emmerdale's Lee Naylor between September 2008 and June this year, said: "I'd just like to say how relieved I am to be found innocent of this allegation."
He added: "The impact it's had on my family over the last 20 months is devastating."
Linford was accused of assaulting the woman after he started talking to her in a queue for a cash machine in the nightclub. The woman said an argument ensued after Linford pushed in the queue and that is when he allegedly touched her.
But Linford, who appeared in court under his real name of Lewis Frederick Smales, told the jury of seven men and five women that it was the complainant who attacked him.
He said she got extremely angry when he began to use the ATM machine when she was distracted.
After the trial Linford also said he would like to see a change in the law where a person charged with such allegations remains anonymous until a verdict is reached.
He said: "If one is found guilty you expect your name to be branded in any newspaper on the planet but until then you should remain anonymous."
He added that he now just wants to get back to acting and doing what he does best.