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By | John Oates 6th May 2009 15:06

Dabs founder Atherton cleared of rape charges

Glad it all happened, apparently

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David Atherton, founder of Dabs.com which he sold to BT in 2006, has been acquitted of rape charges at Leeds Crown Court.

Atherton, 51, said he was considering legal action against the woman who made the allegations. But he also said the case had probably saved his life.

After being charged in August with rape and possession of cocaine, Atherton was released on £10m bail. He checked into rehab.

The well-known channel character told Manchester Evening News he had been coke-free since last August. He said friends and family had told him he would have been dead or in prison without the case which he described as a wake-up call.

Atherton told the paper: "I was bored after I sold Dabs.Com. It was wealthy indulgence. I was taking cocaine and partying and I was getting into a cycle. With all the money in the world there is a party every night.

"I got involved with a bunch of bored people. You know when you are addicted when you go on a night out, but leave to go home and get drugs."

Atherton is worth approximately £20m. He sold Dabs.com to BT for about £30m.

Atherton said he may sue the woman who made the allegations - his lawyers tried to get reporting restrictions lifted so that her name could be released.

The Dabs founder was accused of assaulting the woman, threatening to drown her in his pool and sexual assault. Much of the incident was recorded on Atherton's CCTV system. Atherton said the events were part of a rape fantasy sex game. ®

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