A FOOTBALLER was jailed for five years today for raping a teenager who was "too drunk to consent" to sex as two of his friends watched and tried to film it on a mobile phone.
His co-defendant, Port Vale defender Clayton McDonald, was found not guilty of the same charge.
Court proceedings were disrupted after McDonald was acquitted, prompting a brief adjournment.
The court heard that both men admitted they had sex with the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, but the prosecution said she was too drunk to consent to sexual intercourse.
In her evidence to police, the woman said she has no memory of the incident and believes her drink may have been spiked.
The jury first returned a not-guilty verdict on McDonald after four hours and 52 minutes of deliberations.
McDonald, of Marys Gate, Crewe, Cheshire, looked elated as the verdict was read out.
His family and friends in the public gallery reacted by shouting "Yes, yes".
One man left the courtroom and could be heard screaming.
Judge Merfyn Hughes QC then rose and everyone in the public gallery was ordered to leave the court.
McDonald remained in the dock with Evans, 23, of Ashtree Gardens, Millhouse Green, Penistone, South Yorkshire, who held his head in his hands and cried hysterically.
McDonald hugged Evans and the two footballers, who first met when they were both at the Manchester City youth academy, banged heads together.
When the judge returned to the court, the jury foreman gave the guilty verdict against Evans.
The Sheffield United centre forward threw the headphones he was using to follow the trial on the floor and then looked shocked.
Judge Hughes told McDonald he was free to leave the dock and after the footballer exited the court, shouts of "No, no" could be heard.
In a statement released via Sheffield United's website, Evans's lawyers said: "Ched Evans is shocked and extremely disappointed with the decision reached today by the jury at Caernarfon Crown Court to convict him of the charge brought against him.
"Mr Evans firmly maintains his innocence in this matter and is being advised regarding an appeal of the decision."
Sheffield United said the club recognised "the seriousness of these events and as such wishes to respond in a responsible way when it has taken sufficient time to consider the matter fully".
McDonald's legal team said in a statement published on Port Vale FC's website: "Clayton McDonald has maintained his innocence from the start and is relieved at his verdict.
"However, he is very upset and disappointed regarding the verdict given to his lifelong friend, Ched Evans, whom he will continue to support in any way possible.
"Clayton would like to thank his family, friends, the staff and fans of Port Vale Football Club and his legal team for their continued support."
Sentencing Evans to five years in prison, Judge Hughes said: "The complainant was 19 years of age and was extremely intoxicated.
"CCTV footage shows, in my view, the extent of her intoxication when she stumbled into your friend.
"As the jury have found, she was in no condition to have sexual intercourse.
"When you arrived at the hotel, you must have realised that."
He told Evans that he might have been used to receiving attention from women in the past due to his success as a footballer, but this case was "very different".
He said the sentence took into account that there had been no force involved and the complainant received no injuries.
He also said the complainant was not "targeted" and the attack had not been "premeditated".
"You have thrown away the successful career in which you were involved," he told Evans before sending him down.
Nita Dowell, Senior Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service in Wales, said: "The Crown Prosecution Service respects the verdicts of the jury in relation to both defendants.
"Ched Evans took advantage of a vulnerable young woman who was in no fit state to consent to sexual activity. He did so knowingly and with a total disregard for her physical or emotional well-being.
"It is a myth that being vulnerable through alcohol consumption means that a victim is somehow responsible for being raped. The law is clear: being vulnerable through drink or drugs does not imply consent.
"Rape is an extremely damaging offence, but it can also be one of the most misunderstood and difficult to prosecute.
"The Crown Prosecution Service, in partnership with the police and other agencies, is working hard to help combat and dispel the myths and stereotypes that exist around the issue of rape.
"We want victims to feel that they can report an offence to the police, confident in the knowledge that their complaint will be taken seriously and they will be treated with respect."