Emmerdale actor Ben Freeman has been found not guilty of rape following a week-long trial in Barbados.

The 28-year-old – who played mechanic Scott Windsor in the soap – had been accused of attacking a 16-year-old British girl after they met at an exclusive resort on the Caribbean island in November 2006.

The girl had claimed the assault took place on a sun lounger beside the resort’s swimming pool – however Freeman denied that she had resisted his advances.

It took the jury at the High Court in the Barbados capital Bridgetown just 90 minutes to deliver a unanimous not guilty verdict, thus clearing Freeman of allegations which have damaged his reputation in the past two years.

The reaction in court as the verdict was delivered was an emotional one. Freeman remained silent, but members of his family, and his girlfriend Sophie Ladds were reduced to tears at the news.

The girl, who remains anonymous, broke down in tears once Freeman had left the court.

“I’m grateful to be vindicated by the jury’s verdict and am looking forward to spending time with my family and close friends who have been enormously supportive to me over the past two years,” Freeman told reporters afterwards.