Footballer jailed for raping woman
Sheffield United and Wales' striker Ched Evans has been jailed for five years after being convicted of raping a woman who was "too drunk to consent" to sex.
The 23-year-old footballer, who has scored 35 times this season for the League One club, is now considering an appeal against the jury's verdict at Caernarfon Crown Court where his co-defendant, Port Vale defender Clayton McDonald, was found not guilty of the same charge.
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, the woman said she has no memory of the incident.
Evans's lawyers said the footballer was "shocked and extremely disappointed". The Football Association of Wales said it "recognised the seriousness of the situation".
Mr McDonald, also 23, vowed to stand by his friend, saying in a statement from his legal team: "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."
The two footballers first met 10 years ago when they were both at the Manchester City youth academy and shared digs during their teenage years. The incident happened at a Premier Inn near Rhyl after they had been on a night out in the seaside town on May 29.
The trial, which began on April 11, was told Mr McDonald met the woman on the street after visiting a takeaway in the early hours of the next morning. He took her back to the hotel where they had sex and were joined by Evans, who also had intercourse with the woman.
Mr McDonald claimed that Evans asked if he could get involved, while Evans said it was Mr McDonald who asked him if he wanted to have sex with the woman. Evans told the jury she consented and was "in control of her actions".
Sentencing Evans, Judge Merfyn Hughes QC 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. You have thrown away the successful career in which you were involved."