A detective jailed in 1998 for raping and sexually abusing an ex-girlfriend has had his conviction quashed.
Mr Potter had an unblemished 15-year police career
Detective Constable David Potter's nine-year sentence was overturned at the High Court in London on Thursday.
The ex-Merseyside Police officer, 52, of Beech Road, Huyton, Merseyside, was jailed for rape and carrying out what the judge called a "depraved assault".
But the High Court overturned the conviction after evidence came to light which discredited the woman's story.
Lord Justice Scott Baker, Mr Justice Richards and Dame Heather Steele quashed the conviction at the Court of Appeal, after evidence presented by Mr Potter's parents.
They hired a private detective and gained expert legal and psychiatric advice.
They uncovered evidence which undermined the victim's story at trial.
Speaking after being freed, Mr Potter said of his former girlfriend: "She will remain anonymous and I had my pictures plastered over the papers."
He added he was grateful to the friends who had stood by him, and his family's detective work.
"They have served this prison sentence with me," he said.
"They had to turn detective at their late stage of life and do things they were not equipped to do."
He said of his time in prison: "It has left me mentally damaged, for which I am still on medication and receiving counselling.
"It is not something today erases. It is something I will have to live with for the rest of my life.
"It is a hard thing to serve a prison sentence when every single day you know you are there wrongly.
"I now just want to get on with the rest of my life.
"My plans now are to go away and try to relax. I have had no sleep for a long time."
He refused to comment on his original conviction.
A jury at Liverpool Crown Court in December 1998 found the former detective guilty of rape, false imprisonment and three offences of indecent assault.
The divorced father of two, who had been in the police force for 15 years, denied all the charges.
During the six-day trial, the victim told the court Potter attacked her after tying her up and gagging her.
She had called at his home to collect some items she had left behind after their relationship ended three years earlier, the court heard.
After Thursday's court ruling, Merseyside Police said: "We have received the results of the Court of Appeal, and will consider any implications in due course.
"At this stage it would be inappropriate to comment any further."