20/12/2007

Rape Allegation Ends United's Festive Cheer

A festive party for Manchester United soccer stars has turned into a nightmare for both the players and management as an allegation of rape threatens to blacken the reputation of both the team and the locally born player involved.

Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans has been interviewed and then bailed by police investigating the incident - an alleged rape - at a hotel in Manchester city centre.

Police were called to the Great John Street Hotel early on Tuesday after reports a woman, 26, had been raped.

Mr Evans, 19, went voluntarily to a police station on Tuesday evening and was arrested and quizzed by officers.

He was then allowed bail, until 23 February.

The hotel was hosting a private party attended on Tuesday by members of the Manchester United squad and other guests.

However, things turned sour after Greater Manchester Police were called to the hotel on Great John Street, in the Castlefield area of the city, at about 4.15am on Tuesday.

Then, later the same day, a police spokesman said: "A 19-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of rape this evening after presenting himself to police."

Jonny Evans has been a United squad member for some time and made his first appearance for United in September after spending last season on loan to Sunderland.

He has also played for Northern Ireland eight times.

Manchester United have declined to comment on the case.

(BMcC)

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