Ched Evans, the footballer who was convicted and then cleared of raping a drunk teenager, has issued a warning to women about the dangers of alcohol.
Evans was sentenced to five years in prison in 2012, after he was found guilty of raping a 19-year-old woman. Another footballer, Clayton McDonald, was also prosecuted on the same charge but was acquitted.
The 28-year-old footballer was found not guilty of rape in a high-profile and controversial retrial last year. He has since been re-signed by Sheffield United, where he is on a reported salary of £10,000 a week.
Now, in a new interview with the Times, Evans says that women should think carefully about getting too drunk – because they might be at risk of sexual assault.
“[I] think that women need to be made aware of the dangers they can put themselves in because there are genuine rapists out there who prey on girls who have been drinking,” he says.
Evans adds that he believes that “a lot of work needs to be done in relation to consent.”
The footballer continues: “I definitely think that the police have an agenda to find ways to charge people and the easiest one is the drunk one.”
The woman at the centre of Evans’ case told the jury at his original trial that she had woken up naked, alone and confused in a hotel room in Rhyl, north Wales, in May 2011. She had no memory of the night before, and feared her drink had been spiked.
Her friends encouraged her to go to the police, and when officers investigated they discovered that the hotel room had been booked and paid for by Evans, who the woman said she did not know. Evans and Clayton have never denied having “consensual sex” with the woman, but the prosecution argued that she was so intoxicated that she could not possibly have consented.
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During his first trial, Evans admitted that he lied to get the key for the hotel room, that he did not speak to the woman before, during or after they had sex, and that he left via a fire exit.
It also emerged that Evans’s brother and another man had tried to film him having sex with the woman from outside the room.
Evans spent two and a half years in prison before having his conviction quashed in October 2016. The second trial sparked controversy when it was revealed that the complainant’s sexual history, preferences and behaviour had been disclosed to the jury, and that she was questioned in detail in open court about the most intimate details of her sex life.
While the woman is guaranteed lifelong anonymity under media law, she has been repeatedly named and abused on social media, and has had to move house multiple times as a result of harassment. Several people have been fined after revealing the woman’s identity on Twitter and Facebook.
On the subject of the woman’s experience after the trial, Evans told the Times: “I feel like we were both victims.”
Images: Rex Features