Ched Evans: Chesterfield chief 'naturally delighted' with not guilty rape verdict

Chesterfield chief executive Chris Turner released a short statement after Evans was found not guilty of raping a teenager in 2011

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The Independent Football

Chesterfield have released a statement to say the club are “naturally delighted” with the decision to find footballer Ched Evans not guilty of rape.

A two-week trial concluded on Friday with Evans found not guilty of raping a 19-year-old woman in 2011. Evans cried as the verdict was read out, and hugged his partner, Natasha Massey, with whom he has remained in a relationship with throughout the five-year legal battle.

Evans was accused of raping the woman at a Premier Inn hotel near Rhyl in north Wales on the 30 May, 2011. He served two and half years of five-year jail sentence, but a re-trial was held in Cardiff Crown Court that resulted in a jury finding him not guilty after three hours of deliberations.

Upon the announcement of the verdict Chesterfield released a statement to express their delight at seeing the player found not guilty.

“Chesterfield chief executive Chris Turner has welcomed the news that Ched Evans has been found not guilty of rape following a two-week trial at Cardiff Crown Court,” the statement read.

Turner added: "We are naturally delighted with the outcome, especially for Ched, his family and friends. We can now all move forward and focus on football."

“No further comment will be made at this stage.”

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Footballer Ched Evans and partner Natasha Massey with solicitor Shaun Draycott outside Cardiff Crown Court (PA)

Evans has made eight appearances for Chesterfield this season after joining the League One club in the summer, and has scored four goals so far as he looks to rebuild his career. The Wales international, whose sole appearance for his country came in a Euro 2012 qualifier against England in March 2011, was sacked by Sheffield United following the original trial, and attempts to re-join the Blades as well as Oldham Athletic were blocked following fierce criticism from a number of public figures.

Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill said she would remove her affiliation with United if the re-signed Evans, with one of the stands at the Bramall Lane stadium named after the recently-retired heptathlete.