Two footballers deny raping drunk teenager

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TWO footballers “procured” a drunk teenage girl and allegedly raped her as two of their friends watched, a court has heard.

Sheffield United and Wales striker Ched Evans, 23, and Clayton McDonald, also 23, deny the attack which allegedly took place at a Premier Inn near Rhyl, North Wales, during a bank holiday last year.

John Philpotts, prosecuting, told Caernarfon Crown Court yesterday that Port Vale defender McDonald, of Marys Gate, Crewe, Cheshire, and Evans, of Ashtree Gardens, Millhouse Green, Penistone, South Yorkshire, had admitted having sex with the complainant, who was 19 and worked in a restaurant – but he said the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was too drunk to consent to sexual intercourse.

Mr Philpotts said while the attack happened Jack Higgins, an “associate” of the footballers, and Ryan Roberts, Evans’s brother, had watched through a window. Video recordings found on Mr Higgins’s phone showed he had been filming or trying to film the incident.

Evans, originally from St Asaph, is a graduate of the Manchester City youth academy and scored 10 goals in 28 league appearances while on loan to Norwich City in 2007. The following year he scored in his debut game for Wales and later joined League One side Sheffield United in a £3m deal.

Liverpool-born McDonald, who was also part of the Manchester City youth scheme, has played for Macclesfield Town, Chesterfield and Walsall, before joining Port Vale at the end of last season.

The court heard the pair had spent the night of Sunday May 29 socialising with friends in Rhyl. In the early hours the following day, 6ft 6in McDonald got into a taxi which the complainant had flagged down.

He then took the woman, whom he had seen fall over in a kebab shop, to the Premier Inn hotel as he called someone on his phone to say he had “got a girl”.

The complainant had been drinking wine, vodka with lemonade and had also had a sambuca shot. Shortly after they arrived at the hotel, Evans came in to the reception and asked for the keys to a room.

Two men, who the prosecution say were Jack Higgins and Ryan Roberts, waited outside.

Mr Philpotts said: “Ched Evans had booked that room with the main or sole purpose of procuring a girl or girls that night.

“He and Clayton McDonald were on the lookout for any girl who was a suitable target and the claimant had literally stumbled across their path.”

After Evans went into the hotel, the receptionist decided to check what was happening in the room.

Mr Philpotts said: “It was not difficult to guess.”

The receptionist, who described the woman as being “extremely drunk”, said he saw the two men outside watching what was happening in the room through the window.

Evans and McDonald subsequently admitted to police they “separately” had sex with the woman in the room.

“The prosecution say that she did not truly consent to that activity,” Mr Philpotts said. “She was in no fit state to consent. And we say that neither man reasonably believed she was consenting.”

After the attack, McDonald came through to reception and said: “You know that girl I was with? Keep an eye on her. She’s sick.”

Mr Philpotts told the court: “He knew how intoxicated the complainant was, dangerously intoxicated, so that she needed to be kept under observation for her own safety.”

According to the prosecutor, Evans, who scored two goals in his team’s victory against Rochdale last night, showed less concern about the woman’s welfare and left by a fire exit. The complainant woke up naked and alone in the hotel room, with only “fragmentary” memories of the night before.

Police were informed that night, May 30, and the footballers were arrested the following afternoon. Blood samples taken from the pair detected only caffeine.

The samples taken from the complainant showed no alcohol, which Mr Philpotts said might have been due to “elimination”.

During a police interview, McDonald said when he met the woman she asked him where he was going and told him she was going with him. He said she had not appeared to be drunk but admitted others watched through the window.

The case is due to resume today.