Ex-SAFC player Cabral cleared of raping woman after night out in North East

Cabral at Hull Crown Court today. Picture: PA.
Cabral at Hull Crown Court today. Picture: PA.

A former Premier League footballer has been cleared of raping a woman he met in a nightclub.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told a jury that ex-Sunderland player Cabral, whose real name is Adilson Tavares Varela, pinned her down on his bed and raped her after they met during a night out in Newcastle.

The player has been cleared following a trial by jury. Picture: PA.

The player has been cleared following a trial by jury. Picture: PA.

But Varela, 27, told Hull Crown Court he did not know why the woman would try to destroy his life.

The player said they had consensual sex after going back to his flat with friends, including retired French international Anthony Reveillere.

Giving evidence, Varela told the jury of five men and seven women: "She's lying."

The midfielder said: "I never raped her, I was not aggressive towards her.

Cabral at court.

Cabral at court.

"When you are accused of raping someone, you then sit down and start thinking thoroughly why would someone come up with all these lies if not trying to destroy your life."

Giving evidence, the woman repeatedly denied that she liked and sought out black footballers.

She admitted knowing a series of players but denied having sex with all but one, with whom she had a longer relationship.

Cape Verde-born Varela, who now plays for Swiss team FC Zurich, gave evidence with help from an interpreter.

He was cleared of two counts of rape.

Cabral left the courtroom as soon as the verdict was delivered, and spoke to the media outside the building.

He said: "You never feel good when some girl lies and say you rape her.

"Now everybody knows about your life because it goes in the press for everyone. You don't feel good.

"I was really angry for my family, for my friends, for this because everybody think 'You rape girls', 'You are a rapist'.

"Now the real story goes out. I am not guilty because all the people can see that what she said in the court all the time was a lie, not true."

Judge Jeremy Richardson QC referred to it as a "weak case" after the verdicts were announced 75 minutes after the jury retired.

He said: "I am expressly not criticising the CPS for commencing these proceedings.

"The case became weaker as events unfolded. This matter had to be tried by the jury and has been."

The footballer also criticised the anonymity granted to his accuser, while his name has been published.

Cabral continued: "I think in England more than anywhere it's too easy for a girl to do something like this.

"She lied all about me but she had nothing. I go in the press, I'm accused of rape, but she has nothing, you can see in the courts she lived normally, she go out, she go drink, she go party, go to after-party, life was normal for her.

"I think you need to do something about this because it's too easy for a girl to say someone raped you, that is not sure, but their life keeps going."