'From the first day, I would have agreed never to kick another ball in return for people accepting I was not a rapist'
Published 16/10/2016 | 09:40
Ched Evans says his thoughts since being cleared of rape are for his fiancee and son rather than his football career. The Chesterfield striker, 27, was originally convicted of raping a 19-year-old woman in a Premier Inn near Rhyl, North Wales. The
conviction was overturned following a retrial this week at Cardiff Crown Court.
Evans is engaged to Natasha Massey, with whom he has a nine-month-old son, and is thankful for the chance to resume his family life with them.
"This has never been about me as a footballer but as a person," he told the Sunday Times. "A father who wants to take his son to the park knowing that no one can look at me and say 'he's a rapist'.
"From the first day, I would have agreed never to kick another ball in return for people accepting I was not a rapist."
Evans served two and a half years in HM Prison Wymott in Lancashire following the original guilty verdict, which related to events in the early hours of May 30, 2011.
After a night out with former Manchester City team-mate Clayton McDonald, Evans - who was then playing for Sheffield United - joined his friend and the woman in a hotel room.
Evans recalled: "It escalated into sex and as soon as I did that, I started to think Tash was coming up the next day and I'd better get home because I couldn't have explained why I'd stayed in the hotel.
"Tasha's life would have been easier if she just cut all ties with me the moment I told her I cheated on her. My behaviour that night was totally unacceptable but it wasn't a crime.
"Being cleared is for my family, Tash, our son Flynn."
Evans claimed he feels no "hatred" towards the woman and said: "Still to this day, five years on, she has never claimed that she had been raped. My belief is that it got put to her that she had been raped by two footballers.
"I feel sorry for her because of all she has been put through. I didn't ask people on the internet to abuse her. I don't condone that."