JOHN McGrath - cleared of rape in the early part of a four-week Mold Crown Court trial - said he had been arrested in a case of mistaken identity and his life been put on hold until a judge directed a jury to clear him.

Speaking after he was formally found not guilty, the 27-year-old from Wrexham said: “My life has been on hold for 13 to 14 months.

“It has affected all my family, the whole lot.

“Everything has been upside down.

“I could not believe it when I was arrested.

“I have never seen this girl. I don’t know her.

“The ID parade was all wrong.

“I felt as if I was being framed.

“This is a classic case of mistaken identity.”

Mr McGrath, of Bryn Hedd, Southsea, said he could not believe the prosecution “put me through all this for over a year now” when there was no other evidence.

“Don’t get me wrong I feel for people this has happened to, girls who are raped.

“But there should be some protection too for those where allegations are made against them.

“My picture was the main picture in all the papers and it was all over Facebook.

“I now want everyone to know that I am innocent.

“I never hid my face from the cameras because I had nothing to hide.

“I was arrested because I have associated with someone else.”

He said he now wanted to try to get back to normal life and get on with life.

“It is going to be hard.

“It is not just going to go away after what I have been through. I will still be affected but it is something I am going to have to work on,” he said.

In court Judge Rhys Rowlands gave his ruling after a day of legal argument.

He said he accepted the evidence of the identification had to be excluded because it was simply grossly unfair.

It was unsafe to rely upon it, he ruled.

Mr McGrath’s image had been shown as one of nine and the code of conduct said that they had to resemble each other.

But while Mr McGrath was bearded with flowing hair, three of the images showed men who were clean shaven.

“Try as I might I cannot see any resemblance to those three to the suspect,” he said.

The jury could not safely rely on the evidence and the submission by Philip Tully of no case to answer at the end of the prosecution case would therefore succeed.

Mr Tully complained that three of the images involved clean shaved men and he argued that the five with beards were dissimilar to his client.