More arrests due over Ched Evans rape tweets

 

The detective leading the inquiry into how a rape victim was allegedly identified on Twitter has today warned there will be "further arrests".

Police in North Wales are investigating how the victim in the Ched Evans rape case allegedly came to be named on the social networking site.

The Sheffield United footballer was jailed for five years last week for raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel room.

Yesterday police arrested three men in connection with the Twitter probe. They were released on bail today, but police said they would be returning to a police station in North Wales in the "near future".

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Williams, who is leading the investigation, added: "Further arrests are planned and will be made in the forthcoming days."

Two of the men were arrested under section 5 of the Sexual Offences Amendments Act and the third was held on suspicion of malicious communication.

North Wales Police said all three have been bailed after questioning at a Sheffield police station.

They have been bailed to allow police to conduct further inquiries and to consult the Crown Prosecution Service, a spokesman said.

Wales international striker Evans, 23, was jailed for five years at Caernarfon Crown Court on Friday after being found guilty of raping the woman, who was "too drunk to consent".

Following the conclusion of the trial, the victim of the rape was allegedly named and subjected to abuse on Twitter and other websites.

North Wales Police described the online comments as "profoundly disturbing" and said they contributed to the young woman's "continued trauma".

Rape and other sexual assault victims are guaranteed the legal right to lifetime anonymity.

Evans admitted having sex with the victim, then aged 19, at a hotel in North Wales last May.

In her evidence, the woman said she had no memory of the incident and the prosecution argued she was too drunk to consent to sexual intercourse.

Evans' co-accused, Port Vale defender Clayton McDonald, 23, who also admitted having sex with the victim, was found not guilty.

Evans announced on Tuesday that he would appeal against his conviction.

In a statement posted on Sheffield United's website, law firm Brabners Chaffe Street said Evans "maintains his innocence" and would be appealing against the jury's verdict.

United defender Connor Brown was suspended by the club this week for comments he allegedly made on Twitter following the trial.

The Blades reserve team player responded to Evans' five-year prison sentence by tweeting various comments in relation to the case and his support for his team-mate.

PA