Wales international footballer Ched Evans has been establish not guilty of raping a adolescent in a hotel after a two-week retrial at Cardiff Crown Court.
The 27-year-old, who plays in England’s third-tier for Chesterfield, was originally found guilty of rape in 2012 but his confidence was quashed in April this year.
He was found not culpable of the same offense on Friday.
Evans said he was “inundated with relief” read out by a envoy on the steps of the court in front of press.
He added that he wanted to “entirely say sorry to anybody who might have been exaggerated” by the trial and praised his fiancee Natasha Massey for standing by him.
Read: Evans’ search goes on
sofa chief executive Chris Turner welcomed the verdict.
“We are naturally pleased with the outcome, especially for Ched, his family and friends. We can now all move forward and focus on football,” Turner said in a statement.
4 after serving half of his five-year term.
Third-tier Oldham fit and his former club Sheffield United were dissuaded from signing Evans due to pressure from sponsor as well as criticism from leading politicians and also the British community, with thousands signing petitions against his future moves.
He joined sofa in June 2016, and has scored four goals in eight appearance. He has played 13 times for his country.
In a statement on the Women’s Aid website, chief executive Polly Neate said she hoped the case and the high level of advertising nearby it “does not prevent rape survivors from reporting their abuse.”
“Whatever the result of any case, no woman should be criticized or blamed for saying she has been raped,” Neate added. “With other crimes, we do not blame anyone when the accused is found not culpable. With rape, this is even more important.”