Ched Evans to appeal against rape conviction

Ched Evans Image copyright Other
Image caption Wales and Sheffield United striker Ched Evans was jailed for five years

Footballer Ched Evans is to appeal against his conviction for rape, his lawyers have confirmed.

The Sheffield United and Wales striker was jailed for five years on Friday for raping a 19-year-old woman at a hotel near Rhyl, Denbighshire.

His legal team said the 23-year-old maintained his innocence.

It comes as police warned that arrests will be made following comments on Twitter which allegedly identified his victim.

During his trial at Caernarfon Crown Court, Evans admitted having sex with the victim at a Premier Inn last May but said it was consensual.

The woman, who is now 20, said she had no memory of the incident and the prosecution successfully argued she was too drunk to consent to intercourse.

Evans was convicted by a jury but his co-defendant, Port Vale defender Clayton McDonald, 23, who also admitted having sex with the victim, was found not guilty.

In a statement posted on Sheffield United's website on Tuesday, Evans' legal team said: "Mr Evans firmly maintains his innocence in this matter and as such, we confirm Mr Evans will be appealing the decision."

'Considerable concern'

Meanwhile, North Wales Police said it would arrest people who had allegedly identified Evans' victim on Twitter.

The force said it wanted to issue a reminder that the law gives victims of rape and other serious sexual offences anonymity for life.

The Home Secretary Theresa May has also voiced her "considerable concern" over the matter.

While taking questions on a number of issues at the Home Affairs Select committee on Tuesday, she said the issue needed to be considered "very carefully".

She was asked by Bridget Phillipson, Houghton and Sunderland South MP, whether she thought current legislation allowed the police to deal with such matters "with the utmost seriousness".

Mrs May replied: "It is a topic of some considerable concern.

"This is something we must look into and consider very carefully... It is another example of how, as technology advances and communications advance, we see people using those in ways like this - we obviously have to say are we keeping up with our ability to deal with that?"

Player suspended

On Tuesday morning Sheffield United revealed it would investigate apparent postings on reserve team player Connor Brown's Twitter account.

The club said said Brown had been suspended with immediate effect but there is no suggestion the player had identified Evans' victim.

Elsewhere, Sky News has issued an apology after it briefly revealed the victim's name during its television coverage of the story.

In a statement, Sky News said: "In our coverage... we very briefly revealed the victim's name despite heavy redaction, and if watching in real-time viewers would not have noticed.

"We would, however, like to apologise to the victim and her family for any distress caused."

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