Blades’ patron threatens to quit

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Published: Saturday 18th October 2014 by The News Editor

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TV presenter and Sheffield United patron Charlie Webster said she will quit her role with the club if they re-sign Ched Evans.

The 25-year-old former Sheffield United player and Welsh international was released from jail this week after serving half of a five-year sentence for raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel.

Webster, who has said that she was sexually assaulted as a teenager, told BBC Radio 5 Live: “You will have young people cheering him on when he scores a goal. Not under my name, under my club or community.”

She was immediately branded a “hypocrite” by Evans’ sister Kylie. She retweeted a message the presenter posted last month saying she wanted to get a photograph of former heavyweight boxing champion and convicted rapist Mike Tyson.

Miss Webster told BBC Radio 5 Live she felt i t would be wrong to continue as a patron of the community foundation if Ched Evans ever steps out in Sheffield United colours again.

She said: “He says he is innocent, he has shown no remorse.”

Miss Webster, who is a member of the Justice Ministry’s Victims’ Panel which was set up so that those who have been affected by crime can tell ministers directly how the criminal justice system could better serve people in their position, said: “I feel like it is my duty and responsibility to stand up to this.

“Very few people would be able to walk back into the same job as they did before being a convicted rapist.”

In response Evans’ sister pointed to a tweet which Miss Webster posted on September 10. It reads: “Just bumped into Mike Tyson in the hotel lobby as I was randomly talking about him! I chickened out on asking for a photo…damn.”

Ms Evans tweeted: “This is the same Charlie Webster that’s just threatened to leave United. Hypocrite.”

Tyson was convicted of rape in 1992 after an incident the previous year and subsequently served three years of a six-year sentence.

Evans was jailed in April 2012 for raping the woman in a hotel room in Rhyl, North Wales.

His release will pile more pressure on his former club, Sheffield United, to say whether he will be allowed to play for them again.

Many Blades fans have called for him to be rehabilitated, but almost 150,000 people have signed an online petition urging the Bramall Lane club not to welcome him back.

The striker denied raping the woman but was found guilty by a jury at Caernarfon Crown Court.

He admitted having sex with her, but the woman told the jury she had no memory of the incident.

The prosecution said the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was too drunk to consent to sexual intercourse.

Port Vale defender Clayton McDonald also admitted having sex with the victim but was found not guilty of the same charge.

An appeal against Evans’s conviction was rejected by three judges at the Court of Appeal in 2012.

Since leaving Wymott Prison near Leyland in Lancashire a statement released on Evans’ behalf says that he will make a “very personal and profound statement” on the issue next week.

Published: Saturday 18th October 2014 by The News Editor

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