UK

Ched Evans Row Deepens As Sister Brands Sheffield Utd Patron Charlie Webster A 'Hypocrite'

18/10/2014 14:20 BST | Updated 18/10/2014 14:59 BST

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 it 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."

charlie webster

Charlie Webster says she will quit her role with Sheffield United if they re-sign Ched Evans

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."

READ MORE

Ched Evans Freed From Prison After Serving Rape Sentence

Ched Evans Furore Widens As Daily Mail's Sarah Vine Claims 'Some Rapes Are Worse Than Others'

We Need a Nuanced Discussion of Rape Culture

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.

ched evans

Video of a car believed to be carrying Ched Evans leaving Wymott Prison near Leyland in Lancashire

ched evans

Evans with his girlfriend Natasha Massey

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.

Sheffield United strongly denied reports that the club has offered a new contract to Evans.

He is now at the centre of a nationwide debate as to whether he should return to his former club to resume his career.

It was reported today that the Wales striker had been offered a two-year contract by United worth more than £500,000.

But the club have refuted the report and a club statement read: "Sheffield United has become aware of speculative media coverage concerning the immediate future of its former player Ched Evans.

ched evans

Sheffield United and Wales striker Ched Evans

"An article in The Sun (on Saturday) that Sheffield United has offered a contract to former player Ched Evans is false and damaging to the club.

"We have made a statement on this matter previously and the lack of credibility and substance from this latest media report does not warrant any expansion from previous comments apart from noting that we are continuing to deliberate on any long-term decision about Ched Evans."

TV presenter Judy Finnigan this week inflamed a debate about whether Evans should return to his footballing career by claiming his crime was "non violent" and did not cause "bodily harm" during a panel discussion on ITV's Loose Women.

Her comments caused a wave of criticism, abuse on social media and also sparked threats against her daughter, fitness instructor Chloe, wishing rape on her.

Finnigan, who says she does not use Twitter, wrote in her Daily Express column: "I sincerely hope there is a special place in hell reserved for trolls. Meanwhile I am fortunate that I don't have to look at their disgusting words and even more so that I have such a close, loving and supportive family."