Three from Yorkshire among nine fined in footballer rape victim case

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THREE men from Sheffield were among nine defendants who were fined yesterday for identifying a woman who was raped in a hotel room by former Sheffield United footballer Ched Evans.

Paul Devine, 26, of Buchanan Road, Parson Cross, Daniel Cardwell, 25, of White Lane, Chapeltown, and Shaun Littler, 22, of Ashbourne Road, Handsworth, all appeared at Prestatyn Magistrates’ Court.

They pleaded guilty to publishing material likely to lead members of the public to identify the complainant in a rape case, contrary to the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act, 1992.

The court heard that they, and six other defendants, all from Wales, named the 19-year-old victim on social network sites, including Twitter and Facebook, following Evans’s conviction at Caernarfon Crown Court in April.

Nita Dowell, prosecuting, told the court that, following Evans’s conviction for the attack which took place in Rhyl, the case attracted a huge amount of interest.

Cardwell, a Sheffield United fan, said he was drunk when he named the victim and that he did not realise it was illegal.

Devine posted a tweet which Miss Dowell said was of “particular concern which read: “She is to blame for her own downfall. Let’s find her address.” The court heard that Devine was angry as Sheffield United had just lost to MK Dons.

Littler also used his tweet to accuse the victim of “crying rape”. He later told police that he was “devastated” Sheffield United had lost Evans as a result of the trial, as he was the team’s best player.

The other defendants are Benjamin Davies, 27, of Elwy Drive, Rhyl, Michael Ashton, 21, of Gwelfor Terrace, Llanddulas, Dominic Green, 23, of Oakwood Road, Rhyl, Craig MacDonald, 26, of Greenacres Caravan Park, Prestatyn, Holly Price, 25, of Derwent Close, Prestatyn, and Evans’s cousin Gemma Thomas, 18, of South Drive, Rhyl.

District Judge Andrew Shaw ordered the defendants to pay the victim compensation of £624 each.

Evans is due to appeal against his rape conviction at the Court of Appeal today.