A devastated Alfreton man who spent seven months in prison after being wrongly accused of rape has spoken about his traumatic ordeal.
In February last year 43-year-old David Wilson, formerly of Oakerthorpe, was charged with rape and several other crimes after a woman acquaintance made allegations against him.
But just four days before David was due to appear at Derby Crown Court to face the charges, the case was dropped after new information about his case came to light.
Despite having his name cleared, the father-of-two has been left homeless and out of business and David says the experience of prison life has changed him forever.
"When I was in Leicester prison, I was put in with the paedophiles and rapists and they think you are the same as them — it was terrible, very stressful because I'm a family man — I had a constant headache when I was in there," he said."You get treated with more respect if you are in for murder, but if you're in for rape, there is a lot of trouble."
After being arrested and charged with dangerous driving, assault, intimidating witnesses, sexual assault and rape last February, David served eight weeks in Leicester Prison on remand before being transferred to Nottingham Prison.
He said: "In prison, you have to fight for your life and it was hard –– people would spit in my food and I would regularly get into fights.
"When I was in Nottingham prison, there were fights breaking out all the time and slashings every day."
David, who is currently staying with his mother in Whatstandwell, Derbyshire, says his whole family have been affected by the events of the last 11 months.
David said: "This has scarred my kids but they knew all along that I was innocent. "Their lives have been disrupted as they've had to change schools and move in with their grandmother but I'm back with them now."
After being released from prison in August under the condition that he stayed out of Derbyshire, David was then re-arrested and sent to Birmingham's Winson Green prison in October after the original complainant claimed he broke the conditions.
He was released in November after the case was dropped following new evidence, although he says people have treated him differently since the ordeal began.
He said: "I've got loads of friends around Pinxton but people look at me like I'm scum – only one mate, an old friend from school, stood by me through all of this – hopefully people
will change their opinions now."
After previously running a successful mobile catering business, selling hot food from his van at football matches and other venues, David says he has lost all his customers and thousands of pounds in earnings.
David said: "I used to make a lot of money from my business around local venues and football grounds such as Hucknall Town and Somercotes Industrial Estate.
"Now I'm trying to think about what to do for work as I have to try and get all my customers back but it's like having to start again.
"I'm glad I'm back with my children again but I'm still very bitter."
His solicitor Jim Durcan confirmed that the charges were dropped against David after evidence retrieved on his mobile phone sim card confirmed that the allegations were false.
He said: "It has been a huge ordeal for him and has obviously had a catastrophic effect on his life."