Ricky Whittle has been cleared of deliberately knocking down a photographer.

The ex-Hollyoaks actor, who came second in Strictly Come Dancing last year, walked free from court after being acquitted of dangerous driving.

He was accused of deliberately driving his American Dodge pick-up truck at freelance photographer Stephen Farrell in the early hours of November 27.

It was claimed the former model acted out of ‘irritation’ at the snapper trying to get pictures of him with former girlfriend, Hollyoaks actress Carley Stenson.

But a jury at Liverpool Crown Court decided the star did not intentionally turn his wheel to knock Mr Farrell down. The jury of seven women and five men took just an hour to acquit the actor.

Leaving the dock he gave the female dock officer a kiss goodbye. Carley gasped ‘Yes,’ as he was cleared and began to cry.

Ricky said: “It’s been nine months of hell. I’m so glad it’s over.”

“It’s been a tough time for me this week,” he said.

“I want to thank the people of Liverpool and the Mersey because they really have supported me on the way in and the way out from the courts.

“It’s been really touching. I have had so much support and messages and I just really want to thank them.

“It’s never fun, it’s never fun. It’s a situation I want to move on from. I’ve got to get to a charity football game tonight and just want to move on to the next part of my career.”

Asked if the case would damage his relationship with the media and photographers, he said: “I have never had a problem with the press before and I won’t in the future.”