A FORMER Warrington Rylands footballer has been cleared of raping a woman after a cup final victory at Wembley Stadium.

Michael Emery was also found not guilty of causing her distress by sending naked images of her to his teammates.

The verdict was reached by a jury at St Albans Crown Court today, Tuesday, following a week-long trial.

The 33-year-old, known as Mikey, was the team’s reserve goalkeeper in the FA Vase final 3-2 victory on May 22, 2021.

The woman had joined the side’s celebrations at a hotel, with the trial hearing that Emery was the only player to be sleeping alone in a twin room and offered the woman the chance to stay in his room.

In a recorded police interview played to the jury during the trial, she said they had consensual sex at first, which she described as ‘good’, albeit ‘transactional and vanilla’.

She said she had drunk six or seven bottles of Moretti beer from 5pm to 1am, and that the pair at first had consensual sex, which was ‘fine’.

However, she claimed that later that night, Emery woke her by biting her and twice raped her.

Emery, of Signet Square, Coventry, denied two charges of rape and one of disclosing private sexual photographs without consent with intent to cause distress.

He was found not guilty by a jury of seven men and five women, who had been considering their verdicts for three hours 16 minutes.

The court heard an allegation that at 3.43am, Emery sent an image of the sleeping complainant with her breasts exposed to a group called 'first team' and 'GK training'.

Jurors heard it was alleged that one message was sent saying ‘anyone want a go?’ followed by a laughing crying emoji.

The trial heard an allegation that at 4.12am, she was awake when another photograph was taken ‘surreptitiously’ in which her breast and vaginal area were visible.

The woman went to the police on August 16, 2021.

Under cross-examination by Emery’s barrister Kate Blackwell, the woman said she was ‘not relaxed’ and felt ‘numb’.

In the witness box, the goalkeeper said they had consensual activity on three occasions during the night.

Asked if he had woken her twice in the night by biting her and having sex without her consent, he said: “No never.”

He was asked why he had taken an intimate photo of the woman who had not given him permission.

He replied: “I don't know. I was bragging. I deeply regret taking it. It was stupid. If I could take it back I would. I can’t t justify why I did it. It is horrible.”

Emery said he had not meant it when he sent the caption ‘anyone want a go?’, adding: “I was just showing off and being a lad. I don’t know why I did it.”

He was cleared of the images charge after Ms Blackwell argued in her closing speech that he had not intended to cause the woman distress.

Trial judge Justice James Goss told Emery: “You have been acquitted by the jury. You are free to go. You are discharged from the court.”