Beryly ‘Bez’ Lubala thanked his legal team for their support after he was found innocent (Picture: CameraSport/Getty)
A footballer cleared of rape at trial says he now wants to get back to focussing on his career.
Beryly ‘Bez’ Lubala, who plays for Blackpool FC, thanked his legal team after a jury took less than two hours to find the 24-year-old innocent.
There were excited gasps and sobs from Mr Lubala’s supporters at Brighton Crown Court as the decision was read out.
Speaking after the verdict, Mr Lubala said: ‘I am delighted with the verdict and I would like to thank Jesus Christ my Lord and saviour.
‘Thank you to my family and friends for standing by me through what has been an incredibly difficult period of my life.’
He added: ‘Now that a jury has found me to be innocent of all charges I wish to put this episode behind me and focus on my family, my future, and my career as a footballer.’
Judge Shani Barnes thanked the jurors for ‘staying so calm’ during the trial.
Mr Lubala currently plays for Blackpool FC (Picture: CameraSport/Getty Images)
‘This one took on a whole new level of pressure,’ Judge Barnes said.
‘People’s lives were on hold. You are free to go back to your lives and Mr Lubala is free to go back to his.’
In a statement, Blackpool FC said: ‘This has been an extremely difficult time for all involved.
‘The alleged offence is one that the Club had no prior knowledge of when Beryly signed for Blackpool in September 2020.
‘The Club would like to make clear that it would not knowingly sign a footballer, nor employ any individual, who is subject to a police Investigation of this gravity.
‘The Club will be making no further comment at this stage.’
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