Police investigate naming of rape victim on Twitter

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Police are investigating the "profoundly disturbing" public naming of a rape victim who was then subjected to abusive comments on Twitter.

The barrage of insults followed the sentencing on Friday of Ched Evans, 23, a Sheffield United and Wales footballer. He was jailed for five years at Caernarfon Crown Court after being found guilty of raping a woman who was "too drunk to consent" to sexual intercourse.

Victims of rape and sexual assault are guaranteed lifetime anonymity. Naming a complainant, regardless of the outcome of the case, is contempt of court and can be punishable with a prison term. North Wales Police said it would deal "robustly" with social media users who allegedly named and abused the woman.

Sheffield United announced it had launched a separate investigation into comments made by defender Connor Brown, 19, on Twitter. Mr Brown's comments supported his team mate and, it was reported, called the victim a "money-grabbing little tramp".

Other Twitter users then allegedly named Evans's victim.

Evans admitted having sex with the victim, who was then 19, at a hotel in in Rhyl, Denbighshire, last May. The victim said she had no memory of the incident and the court found she was too drunk to consent.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Williams said: "North Wales Police are aware of reports of comments on social media sites and are collating all relevant information which is currently being reviewed."

A statement posted on the club's website said: "The club is aware of a very serious matter regarding comments made through the Twitter account of one of its players. As a result we have launched an inquiry."