ALEX Salmond has described the last two years as a "nightmare" and promised to reveal evidence of a conspiracy against him.

The former First Minister spoke briefly outside the High Court in Edinburgh after being acquitted of 13 sexual offences charges.

His legal team had wanted to question witnesses about an alleged political plot to "discredit" Mr Salmond, but judge Lady Dorrian refused to allow it for legal reasons.

During his two-week trial, Mr Salmond said some of the allegations against him were "deliberate fabrications for political purposes".

After leaving court, the former SNP leader addressed the waiting media scrum.

He said: “Ladies and gentlemen, just over a year ago when we finished the civil action and judicial review, I said I had great faith in the court system of Scotland.

“That faith has been much reinforced today.

“So I’d like to start by explaining that faith and thanking the jury for their decision.

“I’d also like to thank the court service, who have been courteous beyond limit over the last two weeks and to the police officers who’ve manned this trial under these extraordinary circumstances.”

“Turning to his former officer manager Isobel Zambonini, who regularly accompanied him to court during the trial, he said: “Obviously above all I’d like to thank my friends and family for standing by me over the last two years.

“I would like to thank my brilliant legal team, who are absolutely exceptional.

“And I’d like to thank all of the people who’ve sent so many messages over the last 18 months or so, but particularly in recent days.

“As many of you will know, there is certain evidence that I would have liked to have seen led in this trial, but for a variety of reasons we were not able to do so.

“At some point that information, that facts and that evidence will see the light of day.

“But it won’t be this day, and it won’t be this day for a very good reason, and that is whatever nightmare I’ve been in over these last two years it is as of nothing compared to the nightmare that everyone that every single one of us is currently living through.

“People are dying. Many more are going to die.

“What we’re doing just now, and I know you [the media] have got a job to do, is not safe.

“I know it’s your job, but it ain’t safe, and my strong, strong advice to you is to go home, those who can and are able to, take care of your families and God help us all.”