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Former weekly editor in bid to clear footballer of rape

A former regional editor who has been involved in a number of high-profile miscarriage of justice cases is working to clear the name of a footballer convicted of rape.

Don Hale, left, became well-known for his campaign to clear the name of Stephen Downing, who was cleared after spending 27 years in jail for the murder of Wendy Sewell in 1973.

Now the former Matlock Mercury editor has investigated the case of Ched Evans, a former Sheffield United striker who was was jailed for five years in April 2012 after being found guilty of raping a 19-year-old woman at a Welsh hotel.

After studying the case, Don said he believes the footballer is innocent and a legal case is now being put together by a barrister to present an appeal submission to the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

Don told HTFP: “The family contacted me about this time last year. They knew that I have worked on several high-profile cases and there was the fact that I used to be a professional footballer.

“They said would I be willing to study the evidence that they had. I did that and I was quite staggered when I went through it that there was such a lot that had not been presented to the trial.

“Some evidence that has come forward has not been seen by the judge and jury. There’s probably about half a dozen crucial points.”

Evans, who is due to be released from prison in October, wants to clear his name and get back into professional football.

The case has also been investigated by Russ Whitfield, a former detective chief superintendent with Sussex Police who now runs an investigations company, who has passed information to Evans’ legal team.

At the trial, Evans admitted having sex with the woman in Rhyl, North Wales, in May 2011 but he always insisted it was consensual.

Don has also been involved in a number of other high-profile cases, including helping to clear the name of Barry George, who was convicted of the murder of Jill Dando in 1999.

And earlier this month, he called for a reinvestigation of the Wendy Sewell murder, after new evidence suggested it could be linked linked to the Yorkshire Ripper.


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  • January 28, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Go, for it don his name needs to be cleared (Good luck)

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  • January 28, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    I fully believe mr Ched Evans to be not guilty of this hideous crime it’s just not in his nature once he clears his name I hope he returns to football hopefully with his beloved Sheffield united were he will have a warm welcome back.
    regards Stephen.

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  • January 29, 2014 at 10:32 am

    At present Ched Evans is serving a sentence of which the court found him guilty, and that is where we are.
    My concern is that if i am to believe this story evidence that maybe would have found Mr Evans not guilty was not presented to the court, why should that happen, should’nt all evidence be presented in a court…especially for something as dreadful as this….and second..Mr Evans by his good luck of being a footballer would have earned a good salary which means he is in a situation where he has the means to follow his conviction through what of someone who does not have the means…..i may be naive but how can evidence not be heard?????

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