Wales and Sheffield United striker Ched Evans was jailed for five years on Friday after being found guilty of raping a woman who prosecutors said was “too drunk to consent.”
Evans, 23, had been accused of raping the 19-year-old woman during an incident at a North Wales hotel in May last year, while two friends attempted to film the incident using a mobile phone.
His co-accused, Port Vale defender Clayton McDonald, was found not guilty of the same charge following a trial at Caernarfon Crown Court.
Evans’ conviction came amid dramatic scenes in the court-room. Moments before the jury foreman returned its verdict, Evans had broken down in tears after his friend McDonald was acquitted.
However, Evans then looked shocked as the jurors returned to give their guilty verdict against him, before breaking down in tears once more.
Judge Merfyn Hughes told Evans he must have been aware his victim was drunk and in “no condition” to have sex.
“The complainant was 19 years of age and was extremely intoxicated,” Hughes told Evans. “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 realized that. You have thrown away the successful career in which you were involved,” he told Evans before the striker was led away in tears.
Evans’ lawyers issued a swift statement on Sheffield United’s Web site, saying they were mulling an appeal.
“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,” the statement said.
“Mr Evans firmly maintains his innocence in this matter and is being advised regarding an appeal of the decision,” it added.