Caernarfon Crown Court has heard that Sheffield United footballer Ched Evans and Port Vale player Clayton McDonald raped a drunken 19-year-old woman in a Premier Inn hotel room while two friends watched and filmed the act. Evans is said to have reserved and paid for the room hours before a night out in the name of McDonald.
The court’s jury heard that McDonald phoned Evans late to tell him he had a girl and was taking her to the Premier Inn near Rhyl. Prosecutor John Philpotts says the Vale defender and Sheffield striker have admitted to having sex with the teenager in the room separately, but they deny raping her.
The jury has also been told that Ryan Roberts, Evans’s brother, and Jack Higgins, an associate of the players, watched the intercourse happen through a window. Video found on Higgins’s phone showed that he was trying to film or was filming the incident. Philpotts says the teen was too drunk to agree to the sex and that neither Evans or McDonald could have believed that she consented.
The court heard that Evans and McDonald (both 23) spent last Sunday, May 29 socialising with friends. In the early hours of the next morning, McDonald got into a taxi that the complainant had flagged down and subsequently paid for the trip to the hotel. The woman is said to have been drinking wine, lemonade and vodka, and had a shot of sambuca as well. According to a receptionist at the Premier Inn, the teenager was very drunk – stumbling, occasionally holding on for support and slurring.
Philpotts said the defender clearly saw her falling over in a kebab shop. He got into the taxi and paid the fare to the hotel. He used his phone to call someone during the ride, who the prosecution says was Evans. He told the person on the other line that he had a girl and was taking her to the hotel. Evans booked the room for seducing a girl or more for later that night. The footballers were looking for a girl who was a good target, and the victim stumbled right into their path.
The court was also told that, about ten minutes after McDonald arrived, Evans showed up at the Premier Inn and asked for a room key. Philpotts says the claimant didn’t really consent to having sex and wasn’t in a fit state to consent. They also believe neither Evans nor McDonald could have reasonably believed she had consented. Both men left the hotel shortly after being with the teen and walked to Evan’s house. They left the complainant in the hotel room by herself.
The following day, the police were called about the girl being raped and arrested both men on May 31. The teenager, who can’t be named for legal reasons, told police that she couldn’t remember being raped but suspects that some spiked her drink. She woke up on May 30 alone and naked in the Premier Inn hotel room. The last thing she remembered was being in the Godfather takeaway shop and having a discussion about a pizza box. Her main concern when she woke up was that she didn’t know where her handbag was.
CCTV footage shows that the woman left the Zu bar around 3am on May 30. After falling over, she squatted and chatted with several men in the Godfather takeaway shop. In a police interview the day after, she said that she didn’t know how she got to the hotel or what happened when she got there, which is why she thinks her drink was spiked. She never loses her bag when she goes out. She had to have been really out of it to lose it. She also told police that she didn’t drink anymore than usual on a night out. In fact, she usually drinks more and has never blacked out.
Police took blood samples from her and found traces of cannabis and cocaine. However, she denies taking any drugs the night of the incident. The defence has also pointed out that she waited until the evening of May 30 to report the rape, after going to work and talking with people at the Premier Inn, her mother and a friend. She claims she didn’t plan to report it originally, because she didn’t know what happened in the hotel room and was confused.
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