THE Wales and Sheffield United striker Ched Evans is starting a five-year jail sentence tonight after being found guilty of raping a woman who was “too drunk to consent” to sex.
However, the 23-year-old footballer, who has 35 goals in League One to his name this season, is considering an appeal against the jury’s verdict at Caernarfon Crown Court, where his co-defendant, Port Vale defender Clayton McDonald, was found not guilty of the same charge.
Both men admitted they had sex with the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, but the prosecution said she was too drunk to consent to sexual intercourse.
In her evidence, the woman said she has no memory of the incident.
Evans’s lawyers said the footballer was “shocked and extremely disappointed”.
“Mr Evans firmly maintains his innocence in this matter and is being advised regarding an appeal of the decision,” they added in a statement.
The Football Association of Wales said it “recognised the seriousness of the situation”.
Mr McDonald, also 23, vowed to stand by his friend, saying in a statement from his legal team: “Clayton McDonald has maintained his innocence from the start and is relieved at his verdict.
“However, he is very upset and disappointed regarding the verdict given to his lifelong friend, Ched Evans, whom he will continue to support in any way possible.”
The two footballers first met 10 years ago when they were both at the Manchester City youth academy and shared digs during their teenage years.
The incident happened at a Premier Inn near Rhyl after they had been on a night out in the seaside town on May 29.