THREE men accused of raping a woman in the south have been cleared of the charges but told their behaviour towards the woman had been "appalling".

Judge Mrs Justice Hallett said the men should be "thoroughly ashamed" of themselves as she instructed the jury to find them not guilty.

Benjamin Rich-Swift, Ian Frew and Leon Jupe all shook hands with each other as the verdicts were recorded and said outside court they were "relieved".

All three were alleged to have raped the 26-year-old woman after demanding she drive them home after a night out.

Rich-Swift and Jupe both admitted having sex with the woman at a house in Shanklin, Isle of Wight, but they claimed it was consensual.

Prosecutor Peter Glenser said after the prosecution case and after lengthy legal arguments he had decided to offer no evidence on the charges.

A smiling Rich-Swift said afterwards: "We have been living in hell for the last year because of this case.

"We are relieved to have been found not guilty and that it's all over now."

Jupe added: "We don't necessarily agree with the judge that we should be ashamed, because we maintain that we did nothing wrong."

Groundworker Frew, 29, of Avenue Road in Sandown, and Rich-Swift, 26, of The Strand in Ryde, had denied rape and indecent assault. Concrete finisher Jupe, 30, of Oaklyn Gardens in Shanklin, denied rape at Winchester Crown Court.