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Former regional editor helps clear Ched Evans’ name

Don HaleA former weekly editor who helped uncover new evidence in the Chad Evans case has welcomed the footballer’s acquittal.

The Chesterfield FC striker was found not guilty on Friday of raping a 19-year-old woman at a hotel room in North Wales following a re-trial at Cardiff Crown Court.

Former Matlock Mercury editor Don Hale, left, spent four years examining the case of the former Wales striker after being contacted by his family.

Speaking to the Derbyshire Times after the verdict, he said he was pleased that “justice has finally been done.”

As part of his investigations, Don interviewed Evans in prison and spoke to 14 potential new witnesses, including ones who knew his victim.

Said Don:”I spent four years working to help clear Ched of the rape charge and throughout that period faced a tremendous amount of hostility and verbal abuse. I am now so pleased for Ched and for all his family that justice has finally been done.

“I never doubted the outcome but was disappointed he had to face a totally irrelevant re-trial following his acquittal at appeal.

“North Wales Police certainly have a lot to answer for and should fully apologise to him and accept they are responsible for a badly misjudged wrongful conviction.”

He added: “I am pleased that a large part of my research and submission papers helped to clear Ched’s name and remain hopeful he can now put this life back together again.

“Due credit to Chesterfield FC for supporting Ched and for taking a potential risk by allowing him to prove himself on the field.”

Don, who also edited the Bury Messenger in the course of his regional press career, has been involved in three other “miscarriage of justice” cases

Most famously, he successfully campaigned to free Stephen Downing after he was wrongfully convicted of the murder of Wendy Sewell in Bakewell in the 1970s.


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  • October 17, 2016 at 8:50 am

    Hardly up there with his Stephen Downing work, is it? Not sure I’d be adding this one to my CV.

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  • October 17, 2016 at 10:20 am

    The 24-year-old is said to have “broken down” following three hours on the stand where she was grilled about her private encounters with other men.

    Her aunt said: “She said she felt completely violated again.”

    Trebles all round, eh?

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  • October 17, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    ‘As part of his investigations, Don interviewed Evans in prison and spoke to 14 potential new witnesses, including ones who knew his victim’.
    Er, sorry to be picky here, but if Evans has been acquitted (twice), the girl is hardly his ‘victim’, I would have thought.

    And, no offence, bluestringer, but it is the prosecution who need to have a word with themselves after putting the girl through another trial after Evans had been acquitted on appeal.

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  • October 17, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    Likewise, sorry to be picky echoandthebunnymen, but Evans was not ‘acquitted’, ie declared not to be guilty, by the Court of Appeal, he had his conviction quashed and a fresh trial ordered. Don’t think the CPS had any say in whether to prosecute again, though they may now ponder the wisdom of having prosecuted in the first place.

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  • October 17, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Fair point, Old Cynic.I hang my head in shame. But the question still stands: was a retrial really necessary after the conviction was quashed?

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  • October 17, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Rather than lather himself in praise, Don would do well to take a look at a piece by Oliver Brown in the sports section of Saturday’s Daily Telegraph entitled ‘Team Ched’ show just how sick football culture is in Britain.’ It is a brilliant commentary in which he says Evans “has taken the image of the game to its very nadir.” How right he is. If you haven’t read it yourself, have a look.

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