Footballer cleared of rape after Doncaster trial

Simon Lenighan, arriving at Doncaster Crown Court
Simon Lenighan, arriving at Doncaster Crown Court

A footballer has been found not guilty of a raping a young woman in an alleged sex attack in a hotel room.

Former Leeds United youth player Simon Lenighan, 20, and another man, Nathan Campbell, 24, were each cleared of three charges of rape over the alleged incident at the Etap hotel in Leeds city centre.

A jury of seven men and five woman reached the verdicts after a four-week trial at Doncaster Crown Court.

Members of Lenighan’s family wept with relief in the public gallery as the verdicts were announced by the jury foreman.

After the case, Lenighan said he was now hoping to get his football career “back on track.”

He said: “I am happy with the verdict and that the truth has come out.

“It just feels like I could not get my life going. I’m just glad that it is now all over.”

Lenighan, now a player for Harrogate Town, gave evidence at the trial in which he told the court the allegations and subsequent court proceedings had led to him losing his contract with Leeds United.

Lenighan, of Harrogate, and Campbell, of Bradford, were also found not guilty of perverting the course of justice.

Campbell has pleaded guilty to one offence of sexual assault in relation to the incident.

He has also been convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm in relation to a separate attack on a different victim, described in court as an offence of domestic violence.

He was remanded in custody until his sentencing hearing.