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Footballer cleared of sex assault allegations.

PREMIER League footballer Titus Bramble said his "awful ordeal is finally over" after he was cleared of sexual assault yesterday.

The Sunderland defender, 30, was found not guilty by a jury at Teesside Crown Court following a four-day trial.

He thanked family and friends for supporting him since the allegations were made last September and said he will now be able to focus on football.

In a statement, he said: "It has been extremely tough to have this hanging over me for the last eight months. I'm 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. But it has been especially hard on my family and friends. I'd like to thank them for all their love and support during this difficult time."

Bramble was accused of groping a woman's bottom in the Cross Keys nightclub in Yarm, Teesside, before sexually assaulting another woman in a taxi home.

The footballer, of Wynyard, near Middlesbrough, consistently denied the accusations and it took the jury just over an hour to deliver a not guilty verdict for all four counts of sexual assault.

Jurors heard that the first complainant claimed she felt someone grab her bottom when she was in the nightclub on September 28 and turned to see Bramble "smirking".

However, giving evidence, Bramble denied it was him. His defence, Ronnie Jaffa, said it was a case of mistaken identity.

The second complainant said Bramble twice put her hand on his crotch while they were in the back of the cab later that night. She also accused him of touching her between the legs.

Bramble told the jury she was "flirty" and all contact was consensual, saying: "We kissed a couple of times passionately. She was touching me and putting my hand on her leg."

Mr Jaffa said the woman had made the allegations to "save face" after she regretted kissing him. The two complainants did not know each other.

Bramble's brother, Tesfaye, was jailed for four-and-a-half years last year for raping a 19-year-old girl at a Newcastle hotel. He was on a night out with Titus prior to the attack.

Titus was initially arrested along with his brother but was later released without charge.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 1, 2012
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