Watch former First Minister Alex Salmond give full statement on court steps after not guilty verdict

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Former First Minister Alex Salmond has been found not guilty of a string of serious sex offences including the attempted rape of a colleague in a bedroom in his official residence in Edinburgh.

The 65-year-old looked visibly relieved as he was found not guilty of 12 charges against nine women at the High Court in Edinburgh. A further charge of sex assault was found not proven.

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Lady Dorrian had told the jury of eight women and five men they must decide whether the charges had been proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Alex SalmondAlex Salmond
Alex Salmond

The accusations spanned a period between June 2008 and November 2014 and ranged from him stroking a civil servant's hair to trying to rape a former Scottish Government official in Bute House.

Speaking outside court the former First Minister thanked his legal team family, friends and supporters.

He said: “Ladies and gentlemen, just over a year ago when we finished the civil action and judicial review, I said I’d great faith in the court system of Scotland, that faith has been much reinforced today.

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“So I would like to start by explaining that faith and thanking the jury for their decision. I’d also like to thank the courts service who’ve been courteous beyond limit over the last two weeks and to the police officers who’ve manned this trial under these extraordinary circumstance.

“Obviously above all, I’d like to thank my friends and family for standing by me over the last two years.

“I’d like to thank my brilliant legal team who are absolutely exceptional. I’d like to thank all of the people who have sent so many messages over the last 18 months or so but particularly in recent days.

“As many of you will know there is certain evidence I would like to have seen led in this trial but for a variety of reasons we weren’t able to do so at some point that information that facts and that evidence will see the light of day but it won’t be this day and it won’t be this day for a very good reason and that is whatever nightmare I’ve been in as of these last two years it is as nothing compared to the nightmare that every single one of us is currently living through. People are dying, many more are going to die, what we are doing just now and I know you’ve got a job to do but it isn't safe.

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"I know it’s your job but it ain’t safe and my strong, strong advice to you is to go home, those who can and are able to, take care of your families and god help us all.

“Thank you very much indeed.”

Watch his full statement from the courtroom steps in Edinburgh above.