23/04/2012 12:29 BST | Updated 23/04/2012 13:18 BST

Imogen Thomas 'Feels Sorry' For Ched Evans Rape Victim Abused On Twitter

Imogen Thomas has said she feels sorry for the woman raped by footballer Ched Evans, after users of the social media site Twitter named and abused the victim.

The former Miss Wales and Big Brother star, told The Huffington Post UK

"I feel sorry for the girl who was raped and now to be named must be a very difficult time for her."

"It just goes to show Twitter plays a big part in today's news - it's where we hear and see most things first these days."

Thomas was at the centre of a Twitter storm last year, after users of the micro blogging site named her as the woman who had an affair with footballer Ryan Giggs, who had sought a super-injunction to prevent him being named in the press. She added:

"I feel Twitter played a huge part in my life last year. It's impossible to keep anything secret these days especially if its a high profile case.

"People can say what they like when they like, whenever they want. Ultimately my thoughts go out to the woman named."

Her comments come after rape charities spoke of their disgust at the online abuse.

Fiona Elvines, from the Rape Crisis Centre South London, condemned the individuals who had revealed the victim's name, saying that it was "really, really worrying that people aren't taking this seriously."

"This happened while the woman in question was recovering not just from the rape, but from the difficulty of the trial, which survivors of rape often call a second form of abuse.

"It's not just in the individual's interest that anonymity is maintained but in the public interest. Anonymity helps put rapists behind bars.

"It's because of rape myths and the social stigma that survivors of rape are given anonymity.

"[The comments on Twitter] are creating a cycle where survivors of rape are being blamed. The CPS need to send a really strong message out, that you can't just break the law because you think you are supporting your football club."

Click here to read The Huffington Post UK's blog from Rape Crisis' Kate Russell: "Misogynistic Twitter Bile About Ched Evans Case Shows Law Needs to Change"

Her words were echoed by Vivienne Hayes, Chief Executive of the Women's Resource Centre who told The Huffington Post UK she was "appalled" that the woman "who suffered such a horrific crime, has had her name published on social media sites and smeared in such a repulsive manner.

"Rape is a serious crime with severe consequences for the victim, for this to happen is akin to being attacked all over again.

"Rape convictions in this country are far too low, and what women will want to come forward if this is the fate they will suffer?”

Sheffield United and Wales striker Evans, 23, was jailed for five years at Caernarfon Crown Court on Friday after being found guilty of raping the woman who was "too drunk to consent".

Rape and other sexual assault victims are guaranteed the legal right to lifetime anonymity. The punishment for the offence is a maximum fine of £5000, under Sec 1 of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992. However the crimes would only be heard at magistrates’ court.

Police are investigating reports that the woman was named on Twitter. In a statement, DCI Steve Williams of the North Wales Police said: "We are aware of some comments made on social media sites and we are collating all relevant information.

“I would advise people who post such status and tweets to consider the implications of their action and those who add comments to appreciate that they may be condoning such behaviour and contributing to the continued trauma upon this young woman.“