A jury in Rotorua has unanimously found the former Exeter Chief and Northampton Saint not guilty today.
Warning: This article contains references to sexual offending.
The jury took less than an hour to come to their decision.
The victim was on her way home in the early hours of 15 September 1991 when she was pulled into an alley way in the Rotorua CBD and raped. Samples of DNA from semen and blood were obtained from her clothing some 21 years. Running tests with the national DNA database, police compiled a list of 63 possible suspects, including a relative of Budgen’s. This eventually lead police to Budgen who had lived in New Zealand but moved to the UK in 1997. He has since moved back to New Zealand.
Budgen’s defence was that he was in Rotorua that weekend for a rugby match, and later had consensual sex in a hotel room with a woman he never saw again.