Ched Evans, Clayton McDonald rape trial: Football conduct warning to jury

Ched Evans (left) and Clayton McDonald at Caernarfon Crown Court
Image caption Ched Evans (left) and Clayton McDonald at Caernarfon Crown Court

A jury in the trial of two footballers accused of raping a teenager should ignore the past conduct of other high-profile players, a judge has warned.

Port Vale defender Clayton McDonald and Wales and Sheffield United striker Ched Evans deny raping a 19-year-old woman at a hotel near Rhyl, Denbighshire.

The prosecution at Caernarfon Crown Court say she was too drunk to consent.

Summing up, Judge Merfyn Hughes QC said jurors should consider the case "dispassionately".

He told the jury that it might be thought certain well-paid players had behaved in a manner which left much to be desired.

But he added: "You mustn't allow any views of that kind to have any bearing on your decision in this case."

Giving directions of law at the start of his summing up, Judge Hughes said there was no stereotype for an alleged rapist and victim.

"You need to reach a conclusion on what was the complainant's state of intoxication," he said.

"Was she just disinhibited or had what she'd taken removed her capacity to exercise a choice?"

Mr Evans, originally from St Asaph, Denbighshire, and now of Penistone, South Yorkshire, and Mr McDonald, of Crewe, Cheshire, admit having sex with the woman on 30 May, 2011 but say it was consensual.

Previously, the court heard that Mr Evans, whose mother lives in Rhyl, had invited Mr McDonald and others for a bank holiday night out in the seaside town on 29 May.

Because there was not enough space at Mr Evans' mother's house, Mr Evans had booked Mr McDonald into a Premier Inn in Rhuddlan.

'Morally repugnant'

The court heard that Mr McDonald met the woman and took her back to his room, sending a text to Mr Evans stating he had "got a bird".

During Mr Evans' evidence, he told the jury that he had gone to the hotel, let himself into Mr McDonald's room and watched his friend and the woman having sex.

He said Mr McDonald asked if his friend could "get involved", to which the woman said yes. Mr McDonald later left the room.

The court previously heard that the woman - now aged 20 - told police she woke up naked and confused in a double bed following the alleged rape.

She added that she had no memory of travelling to the Premier Inn and feared her drinks were spiked.

During his closing speech, Mr McDonald's defence barrister Lloyd Morgan, said his client may have behaved in a "caddish" way and that the jury might find his behaviour "morally repugnant - but that did not mean he was guilty of the offence.

He said the woman was "capable of making decisions" and that the prosecution wanted to show the friends were on a "mission" to get a girl at all costs.

Mr Morgan told the jury: "When you have a look at the evidence this grand conspiracy theory just doesn't add up."

'Memory loss'

He told the court that the woman approached Mr McDonald on a street corner in Rhyl.

"He didn't do anything to her she didn't want to be involved in and she was completely capable of making decisions," he said.

Continuing the defence summing up, David Fish QC, for Mr Evans, said it was likely the woman was not being frank about her memory of the events in May 2011.

Mr Fish said: "Even if it's a genuine loss of memory it doesn't mean necessarily she didn't consent at the time."

The judge has indicated the jury are likely to retire to discuss their verdicts on Friday.

The case continues.

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