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Review body to investigate Ched Evans rape case

The Criminal Cases Review Commission has said it is to begin investigating the Evans case "within the next few weeks".

A spokesman for the body, which reviews possible miscarriages of justice and has the power to refer cases to the Court of Appeal, told the Observer newspaper that representations had been made by the footballer's legal team to prioritise the case.

He told the paper that after the request "in line with our published policy on prioritisation, and in relation to the facts of the case and the issues raised in Mr Evans's application to us ... we now expect our substantive investigation to begin within the next few weeks".

He added that the decision to fast-track the case had no bearing on whether it may be referred to the appeal courts.

Ched Evans: I am not capable of rape

Convicted rapist Ched Evans has vowed to prove his innocence and return to football.

Sheffield United and Wales striker Ched Evans arrives at Caernafon Crown Court Credit: PA Archive

The 25-year-old footballer, who was released from prison on Friday having served half of a five-year sentence for raping a woman in a hotel room, told the Sunday Mirror shortly before he was freed that he was not capable of rape and was stunned by his conviction.

He said cheating on his girlfriend was "unforgivable", and wished he "could turn back the clock".

But protesting his innocence, the former Sheffield United player said: "I am not capable of rape. She has helped me to cope. I want to play football again, but I am determined to prove my innocence.

“I really thought it would have been thrown out of court and I was stunned when I was convicted.I had done nothing wrong.

"It was something that should never have happened. I cheated on my girlfriend and had sex with this girl - but it was definitely consensual."

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Sheffield United deny Ched Evans contract reports

Sheffield United has denied reports it has offered a contract to convicted rapist Ched Evans, claiming newspaper reports are "false and damaging to the club".

Ched Evans was released from prison yesterday. Credit: PA Wire

Following Evans' release from prison yesterday, The Sun newspaper reported that the 25-year-old's former club had offered him a two-year contract.

But Sheffield United co-chairmen, Kevin McCabe and Jim Phipps, said they were still "continuing to deliberate on any long term decision about Ched Evans."

On Wednesday, an ITV News Calendar poll found 52% of people were against him rejoining the club.

Ched Evans' mother 'happy to have him home'

Ched Evans' mother has tweeted her joy at having her son home after his release from prison today.

After one tweeter said she must be "so happy to have him home", Helen Roberts replied "yes I am. Thank you."

Ched Evans 'adjusting to normal life' after release

Footballer Ched Evans was released from prison at 5am this morning, a statement on his website has confirmed.

Evans was released from prison this morning. Credit: PA

A separate update read that Evans "is now adjusting to normal life after serving a sentence for a crime consistently denied".

The former Sheffield United striker hopes to overturn his 2012 conviction for rape, and the statement says his legal team is "confident" in an application for a second appeal.

According to the website, Evans plans to make a "very personal and profound" statement by video next week.

"Ched would like to thank prior to the video statement, the thousands of people from all walks of life who have supported him and believe in him," the post said.

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Ched Evans believed to have been released from prison

The car is seen outside Wymott Prison.

Footballer Ched Evans is believed to have left prison this morning after serving half of his five-year sentence for rape.

A silver 4x4 with blacked-out windows was seen pulling up outside Wymott Prison near Leyland in Lancashire just before 5am.

A man was seen getting in to the back of the vehicle which left "within seconds", according to a witness.

Ched Evans set to be released from prison

Welsh international footballer Ched Evans is expected to be released from prison today Credit: PA

Convicted rapist footballer Ched Evans is expected to be released from prison today.

The 25-year-old striker served half of a five-year sentence for raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel.

Pressure is mounting on his former club, Sheffield United, who have not yet said whether he will be allowed to play for them again.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who is an MP in Sheffield, said the club should "think long and hard" about recruiting him again.

But one season ticket holder of 30 years told ITV News that having Evans in the team "wouldn't put me off".

Sheffield United still to decide on return of Ched Evans

Shefffield United are debating whether or not to bring convicted rapist Ched Evans back to the club.

Opinion is divided on whether Evans should be welcomed back.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who is an MP in Sheffield, said the club should "think long and hard" about recruiting him again.

But one season ticket holder of 30 years told ITV News that having Evans in the team "wouldn't put me off".

ITV News Correspondent Paul Davies reports:

  1. Calendar

Ched Evans: Clegg urges Blades to 'think long and hard'

Nick Clegg has waded into the row over Ched Evans - saying Sheffield United must think "long and hard" about whether to re-sign the convicted rapist after his release from prison.

Speaking on his weekly LBC phone-in, the Deputy Prime Minister said the club must bear in mind that a professional footballer is viewed not only as a sportsman but as a "role model".

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While he said "politicians can’t tell football clubs what to do", Clegg - who is also MP for Sheffield Hallam - insisted Evans' offence was "a very serious crime" that supporters would be aware of.

However, Clegg refused to state outright what his view on the row was, and added: "When someone has done their time, they have done their time."

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