On October 14, former Manchester City player Ched Evans was found not guilty of rape at a retrial in Wales. Upon hearing that he was a free man, Evans went straight to hug his fiancee and mother of his son, Natasha Massey. The Guardian reports that she told the media as the couple left the courthouse, “This case has been conducted out in the public gaze.”
The group, Women Against Rape, told the Guardian how angered they were with the court’s decision to allow the accuser’s former sexual partners testify about her sex life.
Evans was found guilty of rape in April 2012 after an incident that occurred in Wales in 2011. He admitted to having sex with the 19-year-old accuser but said that their interaction was consensual. Evans was released in 2014. In April 2016, his conviction was quashed after new evidence came out, a retrial was ordered.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Massey Was Accused During the Trial of Offering Something that Had ‘the Flavour of a Bribe’ to a Witness
During Evans’ retrial, the Guardian reports that Massey was accused of offering an “inducement” towards a witness. The newspaper adds that the this had “the flavor of a bribe.” The judge in the trial “disagreed with the description,” according to the Guardian.
The Sun reports that the “inducement” was an over $50,000 promise to hotel receptionist Gavin Burrough over his testimony. The newspaper adds that he “refused to change his story.” The Sun also says that the message promising the money was “signed with a kiss.” It allegedly read, “We are appealing for new information. There is a £50,000 reward for any new evidence. Do you know anything that could help Ched? X.”
2. She Says She Visited Evans in Prison Every Week
While Massey stood by Evans throughout his trial, sentence and term in prison, the Sun reports that she was the subject of online bullying. The tabloid says that Massey was “branded disgusting, an embarrassment and a gold-digger.”
In 2014, Massey went on This Morning and told the nation that she had visited Evans every week in prison. In the appearance, Massey appeared with Evans’ sister Kylie Evans.
She also said:
As soon as I found out that he’d been questioned over rape, my instinct was kind of protective of Ched, and I thought I have to stand by him.
So my thoughts and feelings over the cheating were put to one side and I just stepped in to help him through this terrible time.
I know Ched and I knew he wouldn’t be capable of committing a crime like that.
In a statement maintaining his innocence, Evans thanked Massey for her “unconditional love, belief and support.” Massey has said that she had forgiven Evans for his infidelity. While Evans has also apologized for “hurting the woman I love with all my heart.”
3. Her Millionaire Father Offered to Pay a Soccer Team if They Signed Evans
Massey is the daughter of jewelry millionaire Karl Massey. He runs the website ChedEvans.com, a site that’s dedicated to clearing the soccer player’s name. It explicitly states that Evans was “wrongly convicted of rape on 20th April 2012.” Karl Massey employs more than 100 people in jewelry stores, Preston’s Diamonds, across England’s northwest, reports the Daily Express. He has three daughters with his wife, Susan.
The Daily Mirror reports that Karl Massey also hired private investigators to gather evidence for Evans.
In January 2015, the Independent reported that Karl Massey had offered to underwrite any loss that Oldham Athletic made because of boycotts over Evans. The club had been trying to sign the striker. More than 70,000 people signed a petition demanding that Oldham not sign Evans. The team relented and didn’t bring Evans in.
4. The Couple Met Just Before Evans Made a Nearly $4 Million Transfer in 2009
At the time of his conviction, Evans was earning nearly $30,000 per week playing soccer. Shortly after his release from prison in October 2014, Evans proposed to Massey, she accepted. She gave birth to the couple’s son in January 2016 and were pictured together frequently during that time.
The couple met in July 2009, shortly after he joined Sheffield United for nearly $4 million. They live in Cheshire together. Shortly after his rape conviction was overturned in April 2016, the Sun reported that Evans had bought a near-$100,000 car.
5. Evans & Massey Have the Support of Convicted Pedophile Adam Johnson’s Girlfriend
The girlfriend of another former Manchester City player convicted of sex crimes, Adam Johnson, was jubilant at the news that Evans had been acquitted. Stacey Flounders wrote on Twitter, “About time !!! NOT GUILTY. Team Ched.” In another message, Flounders wrote, “I can’t put into words how happy I am for Natasha & Ched !!! They can now carry on as a family knowing his name is cleared!”
While Evans’ aunt, Nina, told the Daily Mail that her nephew “deserved to go down as he was found guilty.”