Ennis-Hill abuse tweets probed


Published: Saturday 15th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Police were continuing today to investigate abusive tweets about Jessica Ennis-Hill after the Olympic gold medallist said Sheffield United should not re-sign convicted rapist Ched Evans.

Ennis-Hill issued a statement on Thursday night saying she would want her name removed from a stand at the Bramall Lane ground if the League One club welcomed the Welsh international back following his conviction for raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel room.

Yesterday, South Yorkshire Police said: “South Yorkshire Police can confirm they are investigating reports of abusive tweets. Officers are making efforts to contact the individual concerned, but have launched an investigation into the posts.”

The investigation was announced as Prime Minister David Cameron said he understood Ennis-Hill’s stance.

Mr Cameron said: “I quite understand why she’s said what she’s said and done what’s she done.”

The heptathlete had a stand at Bramall Lane named in her honour after her triumph at the London 2012 Games.

She issued a statement in the wake of the Blades’ decision to allow Evans to train at the club to help him regain his fitness.

Ennis-Hill said she would want her name removed if Evans was offered a contract, adding: “I believe being a role model to young people is a huge honour and those in positions of influence in communities should respect the role they play in young people’s lives and set a good example.

“If Evans was to be re-signed by the club, it would completely contradict these beliefs.”

Campaigners against sexual violence have criticised the club’s decision to allow Evans, 25, to train with the team.

TV presenter Charlie Webster, Sixties pop star Dave Berry and Sheffield businesswoman Lindsay Graham have all resigned as patrons of the club since Evans returned to training.

Welsh international Evans was jailed in April 2012 for raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel room in Rhyl, North Wales.

The striker denied raping her, saying the sex was consensual, but he was found guilty by a jury at Caernarfon Crown Court.

He was released from prison last month after serving half of a five-year sentence.

An appeal against his conviction was rejected by three judges at the Court of Appeal in 2012. His case is due to be looked at by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

After his release, Evans put a video on his website protesting his innocence and vowing to clear his name.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, a Sheffield MP, said that if it was his decision, he would not have let Evans return to his former side.

But Mr Clegg indicated that he believed the Welsh international should be allowed to resume his career, possibly with a foreign club.

Football Association chairman Greg Dyke refused on Thursday to comment on Evans, insisting he was on BBC2’s Newsnight to discuss Fifa’s investigation into World Cup bidding.

Asked if Evans should be allowed to play for Sheffield United again, Mr Dyke replied: “I don’t want to get into that tonight. I don’t think that’s what I am here for.”

Asked if he should take a lead on the issue, Mr Dyke said: “Here’s the straightforward question – are people who go to prison entitled to come out of prison and to try and rebuild their lives or aren’t they? Or is what they’ve done so bad and because they’re in an industry where their image is important – and that’s the dilemma and it’s not clear cut.”

Published: Saturday 15th November 2014 by The News Editor

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