A former Dragons' Den star broke down in tears yesterday as he was cleared of illegally having sex with a 13-year-old girl.
But married millionaire Doug Richard was left with his reputation in tatters after he admitted in evidence that he met 100 young women for 'Fifty Shades of Grey' sex.
Yesterday a jury found Richard, 57, not guilty of three counts of sexual activity with a child, one of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and another charge of paying for sexual services.
They found that he had 'reasonably believed' the 5ft-tall teenager - who weighed less than six stone - was in fact 17, that the sex was consensual and that the money he gave her was a 'gift'.
Richard became progressively more emotional as each not guilty count was read out, dabbing his eyes. Outside the courtroom he burst into tears and declined to comment on his acquittal.
But reacting to the verdict yesterday, the mother of the young teenager he had met online said she was 'devastated' by the decision, adding: 'I don't trust anyone now. This has been distressing.'
The court heard that Richard - who is worth £52million - engaged in a string of sleazy sexual encounters with women he met on a 'Sugar Daddy' website called Seeking Arrangement.
The former business adviser to David Cameron, who admitted having a sex addiction, would chat to hundreds of women in their late teens and 20s using the name 'Dominant' - arranging dates at least twice a month.
A jury at the Old Bailey heard the teenager had joined the website in the hope of meeting a Sugar Daddy. She was involved in graphic conversations with at least three men, and told one user she had 'baby-sized feet', describing herself as 'super tiny everywhere'.
Richard used PayPal to give the 13 year old and her 15-year-old friend £120 to buy rail fares from Norwich to Liverpool Street Station, where the young girl arrived carrying a Hello Kitty backpack. It was alleged that he spanked and had sex with her as her friend waited in the next room, before giving them £120 in cash to spend at the clothes shop American Apparel.
Police were called after the PayPal transfer Richard had sent to the teenagers to pay for their train tickets was spotted by the older girl's mother. When Richard was arrested in London he told detectives: 'As you can see I'm in quite a lot of trouble.' He went on to ask: 'What if I thought she was over 16 but she was in fact under 16?'
Richard has three grown-up children with his wife Caroline Gonzalez-Carvajal, 54, who is believed to be still living with him. The technology entrepreneur, who is originally from California but now lives in a £6million house in Islington, North London, received an award from the Queen for services to enterprise in 2006.
He appeared in the first two series of the BBC's Dragons' Den, but left the programme after failing to invest a penny in any of the start-ups in the second series.