Ched Evans rape verdict: How his girlfriend stood by him throughout rape conviction controversy

Natasha Massey says their plans for the future are 'more children and to get married' 

Claire Hayhurst
Friday 14 October 2016 16:24 BST
Ched Evans cleared of rape

"I'm literally begging ... If you know anything please help me," Natasha Massey wrote in a Facebook message to a witness following her boyfriend's conviction for rape.

The message, highlighting a £50,000 reward, was sent to Gavin Burrough, a night receptionist at the Premier Inn near Rhyl where Ched Evans was accused of raping a young woman.

Miss Massey had been in a relationship with striker Evans for two-and-a-half years when he was arrested for sexually assaulting the complainant in the early hours of May 30, 2011.

She stood by him throughout the first trial, at Caernarfon Crown Court, where he was convicted of rape on April 20, 2012 and jailed for five years.

During his sentence, Miss Massey visited Evans in prison each week and gave interviews protesting his innocence.

In October 2012, she told ITV's This Morning: "As soon as I found out that he'd been questioned over rape, my instinct was kind of protective of Ched, and I thought I have to stand by him.

"So my thoughts and feelings over the cheating had to be put to one side and I just stepped in to help Ched through this terrible time.

"I'd been with him for two-and-a-half years, I know Ched and I knew he wouldn't be capable of committing a crime like that."

Miss Massey was photographed hand-in-hand with Evans following his release from prison in October 2014 and was by his side as he appealed his conviction.

She appeared close to tears during a video statement from Evans, in which she sat next to him and held his arm.

"In May 2011, at a hotel in north Wales, by cheating on my partner Natasha I hurt the woman I love with all my heart," Evans said looking directly at the camera.

"Since that night I have constantly regretted my act of infidelity and the damage that has been done on so many fronts because of it."

Evans said the support from Miss Massey, along with their friends and family, had kept him strong throughout the proceedings.

"It can't have been easy to have stood by someone who the court found guilty of such a destructive act," he added.

"I will be forever grateful."

The couple became engaged after Evans was released from prison.

It can now be reported that, following the jury's verdict in the first trial, Miss Massey contacted a prosecution witness in an act described as "akin to bribery" by the prosecution.

She sent two messages to Mr Burrough, the first at 12.12pm on May 6 2013.

Prosecuting, Simon Medland QC told Cardiff Crown Court: "The first of these messages draws to Mr Burrough's attention her claim that this defendant was then wrongly locked up in prison for a crime that never happened."

"'We are appealing for new information and there's a £50,000 reward for any new evidence.

"Do you know anything that could help Ched? X"'

Mr Burrough did not respond to the message, with Miss Massey sending another at 9am the following day.

Mr Medland said the message read: "'Ok, I see you have chosen to ignore me.

"I understand you want to put it all behind you but if you can deal with the fact that you know Ched is innocent and he is spending the next 17 months in prison and you can just sit back and let that happen then so be it.

"I'm literally begging. If you know anything please help me. X"'

In a statement to the court, Mr Burrough said he believed the messages to mean: "I receive £50,000 to provide information that Ched Evans is innocent".

However, he said he could not provide any further information as what he had said to the jury during the first trial was the truth.

Mr Medland told the court: "It's akin to a bribe. There is no direct evidence of bribery.

"This is an attempt to induce Mr Burrough to change his evidence so it supported the case of the defendant."

Representing Evans, Judy Khan QC argued that the messages should not be put before the jury in the retrial.

"The messages were not drafted by Ched Evans. He was incarcerated when they were drafted and sent," she said.

"He was not aware they had been sent. The wording of the messages cannot be attributed to Mr Evans. There's no evidence that they were sent at his behest.

"If one reads the messages themselves there's nothing in them that goes beyond the actions of the desperate girlfriend, desperate to seek the clearing of her boyfriend's name."

The trial judge, Mrs Justice Nicola Davies, agreed with the defence and ruled the messages should not be put before the jury.

Miss Massey was not in court to hear the argument about the messages but attended proceedings on many days of the two-week trial.

When asked about their plans for the future, Evans told the jury: "More children and to get married."

Press Association

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in