Ched Evans rape verdict: Footballer's statement in full after being cleared of raping teenager

The footballer thanked his family and legal team for their support

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The Independent Online

Footballer Ched Evans has been found not guilty of rape following a two-week retrial.

The Wales international and Chesterfield striker, who fought a five-year battle to clear his name, hugged his partner Natasha Massey following the verdict at Cardiff Crown Court.

Evans, 27, had admitted to having sex with the teenager in a hotel in Rhyl, north Wales, and cheating on his girlfriend in the process, but always insisted it had been consensual.

Outside the court, the footballer gave the following statement:

"In the early hours of the 30th May 2011 an incident occurred in a hotel room in North Wales

"It wa changed my life and the lives of others forever.

"That incident did not involve the commission of a criminal offence and today I am overwhelmed with relief that the jury agreed. 

"I would like to thank my legal team, Judy Khan QC, and David Emanuel of Garden Court Chambers in London and Shaun Draycott of Draycott and Solicitors Manchester for their efforts on my behalf. 

"My thanks also go to my friends and family mostly notably my fiancee Natasha who choose, perhaps incredibly, to support me in my darkest hour.

"Whilst my innocence has now been established I wish to make it clear that I wholeheartedly apologise to anyone who might have been affected by the events of the night in question."