A MAN found not guilty of attempted rape and sexual assault told the Gazette he was relieved his ‘ten months of hell’ were over.

Nathan Taylor, 33, of Barley Cop Lane, Lancaster, was cleared by a unanimous verdict at Carlisle Crown Court following an incident in Milnthorpe last year.

The prosecution claimed Mr Taylor forcefully undressed a woman outside the Bulls Head Hotel, on Beetham Road, pinned her face down on the floor and tried to have sex with her.

It was alleged he only stopped when a woman on her way home with her young children dragged him away.

The court heard other people walked past the scene, which took place at 1.22am on August 5, but did not stop.

Defence barrister Kathryn Johnson argued that all sexual contact between the pair, who had been on a two-day cocaine and alcohol binge, was consensual.

“She could have left at any time but she was developing feelings for him,” said Ms Johnson.

“She made an aggressive sexual approach towards him and all sexual activity took place with her willing participation and reciprocation.”

The defence also said Mr Taylor had to be dragged off the woman, in her early 20s, because he had fallen asleep on her. This was in keeping with the prosecution statement, which said Mr Taylor was ‘unresponsive’ and ‘like a dead weight’ during the incident.

It took two hours for the 12 jurors to reach their unanimous verdict following the five-day hearing.

The case had been heard at crown court several months earlier but the jury then could not reach a verdict.

Speaking outside court, surrounded by friends and family, an emotional Mr Taylor said: “I’m elated it is all over. It has been ten months of hell. I’m so pleased the verdict was unanimous as well.”