A FORMER Saints footballer has been cleared of raping a woman in a hotel.
Nile Ranger, 22, was accused of raping a woman in a Newcastle hotel but was found not guilty by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.
The striker, who left Southampton for Newcastle United in 2008, had claimed throughout the trial he had consensual sex after going out drinking together.
He told Newcastle Crown Court he had never engaged in sexual activity with a woman against her will and the jury returned the not guilty verdict after the week-long trial.
Giving evidence, the woman said that she had no memory of the night after the first bar they were in until she woke up naked next to Ranger in bed.
Ranger told her she should take the morning after pill. She left and they continued to swap messages that day, the court heard.
She then visited her GP, was checked at hospital and made a rape allegation to police.
But after being arrested Ranger, now playing for Swindon Town, told the police they had had sex more than once and that she had engaged ''whole heartedly'' and ''enthusiastically''.
The court heard that the pair had been messaging for a year before the incident, with Ranger often trying to meet up with her.
This had led the student to refer to him as a ''predator'' and ''Nile Ripper'' in some texts they exchanged.
He now plays for Swindon Town.