GUILTY: Rapist Ched Evans has ‘thrown away his career’, says judge

Guilty: Ched Evans gets five years for rape at Caernafon Crown Court. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.
Guilty: Ched Evans gets five years for rape at Caernafon Crown Court. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.
0
Have your say

SHEFFIELD United striker Ched Evans has been found guilty of rape and sentenced to five years - with the judge telling him his career is over.

SEE THE STAR FOR FULL REACTION AND SPECIAL REPORT TOMORROW

“You have thrown away the successful career in which you were involved,” Judge Merfyn Hughes QC told Evans before sending him down.

The jury first returned a not-guilty verdict on Port Vale defender Clayton McDonald after four hours and 52 minutes of deliberations.

Court proceedings were then disrupted as his family and friends in the public gallery reacted by shouting “Yes, yes.”

The judge then rose and everyone in the public gallery was ordered to leave the court.

McDonald remained in the dock with Evans, aged 23, of Millhouse Green, Penistone, who held his head in his hands and cried hysterically.

McDonald hugged Evans and the two footballers, who first met when they were both at the Manchester City youth academy, banged heads together.

When the judge returned to the court, the jury foreman then found Evans guilty of raping a 19-year-old woman who was “too drunk to consent” to sex.

The Sheffield United centre forward threw the headphones he was using to follow the trial on the floor and looked shocked.

Judge Hughes told McDonald he was free to leave the dock and after the footballer exited the court, shouts of “No, no” could be heard.

Sentencing Evans to five years in prison, Judge Hughes said: “The complainant was 19 years of age and was extremely intoxicated.

“CCTV footage shows, in my view, the extent of her intoxication when she stumbled into your friend.

“As the jury have found, she was in no condition to have sexual intercourse.

“When you arrived at the hotel, you must have realised that.”

He told Evans that he might have been used to receiving attention from women in the past due to his success as a footballer, but this case was “very different”.

He said the sentence took into account that there had been no force involved and the complainant received no injuries.

He also said the complainant was not “targeted” and the attack had not been “premeditated”.

A statement from Evan’s lawyer, released via Sheffield United’s website, said: “Ched Evans is shocked and extremely disappointed with the decision reached today by the jury at Caernarfon Crown Court to convict him of the charge brought against him.

“Mr Evans firmly maintains his innocence in this matter and is being advised regarding an appeal of the decision.”

David Fish QC, for the defence, told the court it was a “sad day” for Evans.

“He is aged 23 and has, until now, had a promising career to which he has devoted his whole life since his teens,” he said.

“That career has now been lost.”

During the trial, both men admitted they had sex with the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, on May 29 2011 while two other friends watched and tried to film it on a mobile phone.

Since Evans was found guilty, Sheffield United released the following statement: ‘the club recognises the seriousness of these events and as such wishes to respond in a responsible way when it has taken sufficient time to consider the matter fully.’

McDonald’s legal team said in a statement published on Port Vale FC’s website: “Clayton McDonald has maintained his innocence from the start and is relieved at his verdict.

“However, he is very upset and disappointed regarding the verdict given to his lifelong friend, Ched Evans, whom he will continue to support in any way possible.

Nita Dowell, Senior Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service in Wales, said: “The Crown Prosecution Service respects the verdicts of the jury in relation to both defendants.

“Ched Evans took advantage of a vulnerable young woman who was in no fit state to consent to sexual activity. He did so knowingly and with a total disregard for her physical or emotional well-being.

“It is a myth that being vulnerable through alcohol consumption means that a victim is somehow responsible for being raped. The law is clear: being vulnerable through drink or drugs does not imply consent.”

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Williams, the senior investigating officer, said: “I would like to pay tribute to the courage of the victim in this case, who has shown a great deal of resilience and strength in very difficult circumstances.

“I sincerely hope that the guilty verdict will provide some closure on this horrendous ordeal for the victim and I would also like to thank the other witnesses who have come forward to assist the investigation of this case. Without their continued co-operation, Evans may not have been brought to justice.

“No-one is above the law and I welcome the conviction.”