Monday 19 March 2018

'Dragons' Den' millionaire cleared of child sex charges

Doug Richard leaves The Old Bailey. Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images
Doug Richard leaves The Old Bailey. Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images

Martin Evans in London

Doug Richard, the former UK 'Dragons' Den' star and one-time business adviser to David Cameron, has been found not guilty of paying a 13-year-old girl for sex after meeting her on a 'sugar daddy' website.

The 57-year-old US-born millionaire (pictured) arranged for two teenage schoolgirls to travel from their homes in Norwich to London where he spanked and had sex with the younger one.

But he argued that the girls had told him they were over 16 and he had no reason to believe they were lying.

A jury of eight women and four men deliberated for four hours and 15 minutes before finding Richard, of Islington, north London, not guilty of three counts of sexual activity with a child, one of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and a charge of paying for sexual services.

He was emotional as the verdicts were delivered and left the court in tears.

Richard, who made his fortune in the tech industry in America, appeared in the first two series of the popular BBC show.

He has also had a long association with the British prime minister.

Mr Richard, who is married with three children, admitted meeting the girl on a website called 'Seeking Arrangements' - which offered to connect 'sugar daddies' and 'sugar babies'.

He said he had met up to 100 women on the site.

The prosecution accepted that the girl had lied about her age but asked the jury to conclude that Richard must have known she was under 16.

The girl was just 5ft tall and weighed less than six stone.

Irish Independent

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