Judy Finnigan apologises 'unreservedly' over controversial Ched Evans rape comments

The Loose Women presenter prompted criticism for saying the footballer’s attack was “not violent”

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The Independent Online

Judy Finnigan has apologised for "any offence caused" after her remarks on convicted rapist Ched Evans caused criticism on Twitter.

"I apologise unreservedly for any offence that I may have caused as a result of the wording I used," said Finnigan.

The Loose Women presenter said on the ITV show yesterday that the footballer should be allowed to return to Sheffield United as he had served prison time, claiming that the rape was "not violent".

"He's served his time,” she said. "The rape and I am not, please, by any means minimising any kind of rape - but the rape was not violent. He didn’t cause any bodily harm to the person.

"It was unpleasant, in a hotel room, I believe, and she was – she had far too much to drink," she continued. "And you know, that is reprehensible, but he has been convicted and he has served his time.

"Now when he comes out, what are we supposed to do? Just actually refuse to let him do his job? Again, even though he has already been punished?"

Her view was met with an angry response on social media and her comments branded a "disgrace" by Twitter users who argued that all rape cases are violent.

Evans, 25, was sentenced to five years in prison in 2012, after raping an inebriated 19-year-old woman in a hotel room in north Wales. His friend and fellow footballer, Clayton McDonald, was cleared of the same charge.

The woman said throughout the trial that she had no memory of the incident. Evans maintains his innocence, claiming that the sex was consensual.

He is expected to be released shortly, having served only half his sentence.

Finnigan has since released a statement about her comments.

"I absolutely wasn't suggesting that rape was anything other than an horrendous crime," she said.

"As I said on the programme, I was in no way attempting to minimise the terrible ordeal that any woman suffers as a result.

"The point I was attempting to raise as part of the debate was what should happen to someone after they have committed a crime and served their time?"

A petition campaigning against the reinstatement of Evans to Sheffield United has reached 10,000 signatories.