1. ITV Report

Footballer Ched Evans begins five-year sentence for rape

Ched Evans found guilty Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

A footballer was jailed for five years today for raping a teenager who was "too drunk to consent" to sex as two of his friends watched and tried to film it on a mobile phone.

Sheffield United and Wales footballer Ched Evans was found guilty of raping the then 19-year-old at a hotel following a night out in Rhyl, north Wales, last May.

His co-defendant, Port Vale defender Clayton McDonald, was found not guilty of the same charge.

The court heard that both men admitted they had sex with the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, but the prosecution said she was too drunk to consent to sexual intercourse.

In her evidence to police, the woman said she has no memory of the incident.

Clayton McDonald (left) was found not guilty of rape; Ched Evans (right) was found guilty of rape and jailed for five years. Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

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.

– Statement on behalf of Ched Evans

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 wellbeing.

"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."

DCI Steve Williams from North Wales Police 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 that she will be able to rebuild her life which was shattered by the events of 30th May 2011"

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

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."

In mitigation, Mr Fish said Evans had not targeted the complainant and had come to the matter "very late".

Clayton 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.

"Clayton would like to thank his family, friends, the staff and fans of Port Vale Football Club and his legal team for their continued support."

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