Let Ched return to football says girlfriend

Ched Evans
Ched Evans
0
Have your say

THE GIRLFRIEND of convicted rapist footballer Ched Evans is calling for him to be allowed to return to football when he is released from prison.

Evans, a former Sheffield United and Wales striker, was convicted of raping a woman at a hotel in North Wales in May 2011.

He was sent to prison for five years, but will be released next month.

Now more than 65,000 people have signed a petition urging the Blades not to re-sign him but his girlfriend of four-and-a-half years says he should be

allowed to play again.

Natasha Massey, 26, who believes Evans will be cleared on appeal, said she and Evans have ‘worked through’ their relationship since his conviction for rape in 2012.

“If he was a builder or a bank worker we wouldnt be having this conversation,” she said. “He’s a professional footballer, and he just wants to get on the

pitch and score goals. I think he should be allowed to do that.”

Natasha’s father Karl says he is ‘confident’ the player will be exonerated in time.

She added: “When I found out he had cheated, that was absolutely devastating. But I never for a second thought he was guilty of the charge.

“It’s personal between Ched and myself. We worked through it together as a couple.

“Now it’s about clearing his name.”

Evans, 25, was found guilty by a jury of raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel in Rhyl, North Wales, in 2011. At his trial he admitted having sex with the

woman, straight after his friend and Port Vale defender Clayton McDonald, but said it was consensual.

The woman told police she had no memory of the incident and was too drunk to consent. McDonald was cleared of rape.

Natasha said she was ‘devastated’ when Evans, then living in Millhouse Green near Penistone, was found guilty.

“We never even thought it would get to court, and never thought he would be convicted,”she said.

“I was in shock. It was devastating. You just cant imagine having to deal with something like that.”

Natasha’s dad - who has written an open letter in defence of the footballer - said: “We have new evidence now that wasnt available when he was convicted, or

at the first appeal. I am confident Ched will be exonerated.

“Natasha has had a lot of abuse from extreme feminists. They pull no punches. “But I don’t know anybody who knows Ched personally who doesnt support him.”

Evans’ latest appeal will not be considered by the Criminal Cases Review Commission until 2017.

He is due to be released from jail next month.

At the weekend Jim Phipps, co-chairman of Sheffield United FC appeared in a statement on video-sharing website YouTube stating that the club had not

decided Evans’ fate. And he said he was not naive enough to think it was just a football decision’.

Karl, who lives in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, said: “I have four daughters and they all love him as a person.

“We just want to get him home, return him to his family and surround him in love.” Mr Massey and his daughter have been angered by a protest group

campaigning against Evans’ return to professional football once he is released.

“For any other profession, bar footballer, there would not be any fuss about him going back to work,” Mr Massey said.

“As part of the rehabilitation process there is encouragement to go back. If he was a builder or plumber or kitchen fitter, he would able to.

“But Ched’s public image has been destroyed, and the only thing that will rebuild it is when he is exonerated, when we are successful in overturning the

conviction.

Natasha said: “Knowing everything I know about the case in detail, I am 110 per cent confident we will clear his name.”