By Adebayo Williams
The Cardiff Crown Court on Friday found Welsh striker Ched Evans innocent of a rape accusation which sent him to five years in prison in 2012. The Chesterfield striker had spent two and a half years in prison already before the verdict was quashed in April and a retrial ordered. Evans had been accused of raping a 19-year-old woman at Premier Inn in Rhuddlan.
The 27-year-old suffered tremendous losses when he was released as teams, Sheffield United, Hartlepool United and Oldham Athletic withdrew their deals to sign him over fans’ outrage. Evans, through his lawyer, has expressed joy at the court’s judgment saying it had put smiles on the faces if his friends and family.
“In the early hours of May 30, 2011 an incident occurred in North Wales that was to change my life and the lives of others forever.
“That incident did not involve the committing of a criminal offence and I am overwhelmed with relief that today the jury agreed.
“I would like to thank my legal team for their tireless efforts on my behalf and thanks too go to my friends and family, most notably my fiancee, Natasha, who chose perhaps incredibly to support me in my darkest hour
“Whilst my innocence has now been established, I wish to make it clear that I wholeheartedly apologise to anyone who might have been affected by the events of the night in question,” the statement read.
His club’s chief executive Chris Turner, also said the club was happy the case had been settled and both parties could move on with football.