Man is acquitted of rape

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A MAN accused of raping a teenager in a back alley as she made her way home from a city centre night out has been acquitted.

At Newcastle Crown Court, a jury took three hours and 41 minutes to find Lee Duggan not guilty of raping the 19-year-old woman.

Mr Duggan wept in the dock as the jury delivered its verdict and members of his family cheered from the public gallery.

Mr Duggan, formerly of Radcliffe Road, Sunderland, was accused of raping the woman as he walked home from the Glass Spider bar in Sunderland, in the early hours of August 8 last year.

She claimed that he dragged her into an alleyway and forced her to have sex.

But during the three-day trial, the 26-year-old told jurors that he and the woman had “laughed and joked” after they had sex in an alleyway – and that she even gave him his £2 bus fare home.

Jurors dismissed the victim’s claims and found Mr Duggan not guilty.

Mr Duggan was unavailable for comment after the hearing.