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A TOP model who dated Kieron Dyer, the England star linked to the football "gang rape" investigation, told last night of her relief that he was not involved.
Leilani Dowding, 23, said: "I shuddered when I read the details of the alleged rape. The man I went out with was a real gentleman and had the utmost respect for women.
"He never showed any disrespect to me. He fully accepted the fact that I would not sleep with him until I had built up a trusting relationship.
"As a woman you can only feel for what this girl says she went through. It is too ghastly to think about and if true is the ultimate violation.
"I am so pleased to hear about Kieron. I just knew in my heart that he would have nothing to do with such a sordid incident.
"I am really happy to hear that he has been exonerated. I would have been gutted if he had been involved."
Dyer has an alibi for the time the 17-year-old girl says she was allegedly raped and assaulted by a group of football players in a London hotel.
He says he was in bed with a different girl at the time of the "rape" in room 316 of the pounds 400-a-night Grosvenor House Hotel.
The story is backed up by a picture of him leaving top London restaurant Sketch, at 2.20am on Saturday September 27, around the time of the alleged rape.
He is expected to be interviewed by officers from Scotland Yard`s Operation Sapphire team because it is claimed the rooms were booked in his name.
But yesterday in an exclusive interview with the Sunday Mirror his ex-girlfriend revealed the real man behind the playboy exterior. She told how:
He blitzed her with romantic text messages.
He was prepared to wait for months before sex.
He spent thousands of pounds buying himself the latest designer gear from stores in London`s Knightsbridge.
However, Leilani added:
She was horrified to find he had been filmed on video by his mates having sex with a girl.
She was dumped by him after she cracked jokes about their sex life.
The former Miss Great Britain met the gifted young player at London nightclub Emporium in June 2001. He spotted her crying after a bust-up with a girlfriend. She said: "I had just had a big row and was a bit tearful.
"This lovely man with a cheeky smile walked over and asked me if I was OK.
"I had no idea he was a football player. I know a lot of the Premiership players from the London clubs.
"But my knowledge of other clubs is a bit hazy. We got chatting and he bought me a drink, a Sea Breeze cocktail.
"I remember thinking, `He`s cute`. He was wearing a Prada T-shirt and blue jeans."
The pair and some of their friends went to another club and danced into the early hours.
Then he offered to take Leilani and a girlfriend home to North London in a taxi.
She said: "He didn`t ask to come up for coffee and I made it clear I wasn`t that sort."
The next day the former university student woke to a series of text messages. One said: "Hi beautiful. How are you today?" The Premiership player also blitzed her with dozens of phone calls. "We spoke about everything," said Leilani.
"Over the next few days we were hardly off the phone. He kept telling me, `You are really beautiful and not like the other girls I meet`.
"I think he was quite paranoid about the reasons why women wanted him. He used to tell me: `I never know whether they want me because they like me or want the money and fame.`
"I felt he really wanted a close, loving relationship with someone he could trust."
Leilani remembers: "Right from the start I told him I was not into one-night stands. I never sleep with someone until I trust them. He was completely cool with that and never pushed me to have sex."
After a few dates, the model began to hear rumours that the star was a love rat.
And she was shocked to learn he had once "starred" in a home-made porn video.
Leilani said: "I was told that his friends filmed him having sex with a girl. I couldn`t believe the story at first because it seemed totally in contrast to everything I knew about him.
"But I realise it was true and I find it shocking. I know that some girls throw themselves at footballers - I`ve seen it. But they have a responsibility to behave decently to everyone, especially the fans. My former boyfriend made a huge mistake in not protecting this girl in the video, who I believe was drunk.
"He told me his friends just burst in the room when they were having consensual sex. Whatever they did, he should have stopped them filming and got them out of the room. But he just continued and I believe that was wrong."
Despite some misgivings, Leilani agreed to a shopping trip to London`s Sloane Square. Dyer wanted to stock up for a 10-day holiday to the South of France. "He loved figure-hugging T-shirts and they looked great on his muscular body."