Victim of Evans rape abused in rant on player’s site

Sheffield United have launched an investigation after derogatory comments about the woman raped by star striker Ched Evans were posted on a reserve team player’s social media site.

The comments appeared on the Twitter account of 19-year-old Connor Brown in response to the five-year prison sentence handed down to Evans for raping a woman in a hotel room.

Unidentified users of Twitter have also used the medium to allegedly name the rape victim in the case, prompting North Wales Police to promise “robust” action to identify them and bring them to justice. Victims of all sexual offences are guaranteed the legal right to anonymity.

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Evans, 23, was jailed for five years at Caernarfon Crown Court on Friday after being found guilty of raping the woman who was “too drunk to consent”. His legal representatives, Brabner Chaffe Street, immediately said he was being advised about a potential appeal but there was no response when the firm was asked yesterday whether an appeal was actually being lodged.

Sheffield United have said very little about the conviction beyond issuing a statement on Friday saying the club wanted to take time to reflect on the outcome of the case. No further comment was forthcoming yesterday.

Commenting on the situation with Connor Brown, a statement posted on United’s website said: “The club is aware of a very serious matter regarding comments made through the Twitter account of one of its players.

“As a result we have launched an inquiry.”

North Wales Police described the alleged comments on Twitter identifying the victim as “profoundly disturbing” and said they contribute to the young woman’s “continued trauma”.

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Detective Chief Inspector Steve Williams said: “As and when criminal offences are identified on such websites they will be dealt with robustly and the offenders will be brought to justice.

“We find this to be profoundly disturbing and are determined to seek out those responsible.”

He advised people who posted such material to consider the implications of their action and those who added comments to appreciate that they may be condoning such behaviour and contributing to the woman’s trauma.

Evans admitted having sex with the victim, then aged 19, at a hotel in North Wales last May. The woman said she had no memory of the incident and the prosecution argued she was too drunk to consent. Co-accused, Port Vale defender Clayton McDonald, 23, who also admitted having sex with the victim, was found not guilty.

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Meanwhile Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), defended the decision to include Evans in the League One team of the season despite his conviction. He said it was a “football decision not a moral decision”.

The PFA team of the year is based on votes which had already been cast by members before the conviction. Evans scored 35 goals in 42 appearances for United this season.

Mr Taylor said: “That was a football judgment by his fellow professionals; it was not a moral judgment and in no way does the PFA condone the offence for which he was convicted.”