Footballer rape trial: Ched Evans jailed five years, Clayton McDonald cleared

media captionThe court heard the defendants had known each other since they were aged 10

Footballer Ched Evans has been jailed for five years for raping a 19-year-old woman, while another player, Clayton McDonald, has been cleared.

Wales and Sheffield United striker Evans, 23, was convicted by a jury at Caernarfon Crown Court.

Both he and Port Vale defender Mr McDonald, also 23, had denied rape at a Premier Inn near Rhyl, Denbighshire.

The men admitted having sex with the woman on 30 May 2011, but said it was consensual.

Court proceedings were disrupted after Mr McDonald was acquitted, prompting a brief adjournment.

Mr McDonald, of Crewe, Cheshire, looked elated when his not guilty verdict was delivered, and family and friends shouted: "Yes, yes".

Screaming outside court

One man left the public gallery and could be heard screaming outside the court.

Judge Merfyn Hughes QC rose and the public gallery was cleared.

Mr McDonald remained in the dock with Evans, 23, of Penistone, South Yorkshire, who held his head in his hands and cried.

Mr McDonald hugged Evans and the two footballers banged heads together.

When the judge returned to the court, the jury foreman gave the guilty verdict against Evans.

The Sheffield United centre forward threw the headphones he was using to follow the trial on the floor and then looked shocked.

In sentencing him to five years in prison the judge said: "The complainant was 19 years of age and was extremely intoxicated.

image copyrightPA
image captionDefender Clayton McDonald signed for Port Vale last season

"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."

He told Evans that he might have been used to receiving attention from women in the past due to his success as a footballer, but this case was "very different".

The judge said the sentence took into account that there had been no force involved and the complainant received no injuries.

He also said the complainant was not "targeted" and the attack had not been "premeditated".

"You have thrown away the successful career in which you were involved," he told Evans before sending him down.

During the trial, the jury saw video interviews in which the woman, now 20, said she could not remember what happened and feared her drinks were spiked.

She could not remember travelling to the hotel, but woke up in a double bed.

"My clothes were scattered around on the floor," she said.

'Confused and dazed'

"I just didn't know how I got there, if I had gone there with anyone. I was confused and dazed."

The court heard that 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 Evans' mother's house, he booked Mr McDonald in to the hotel.

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

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

It was claimed Mr McDonald asked if his friend could "get involved", to which the woman said yes.

The prosecution claimed that while the attack happened, Jack Higgins, an "associate" of the footballers, and Ryan Roberts, Evans' brother, watched through a window.

The court heard the defendants had known each other since they were aged 10 and shared accommodation when they played for Manchester City's youth academy.

Evans, a striker, has scored 35 goals for League One club Sheffield United this season and has 13 caps for Wales.

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