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Judy Finnigan Defends Rapist Ched Evans Because It "Wasn't Violent" And The "Victim Was Drunk"

She made the comments during an episode of Loose Women.

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Judy Finnigan has been branded "disgusting" by Twitter users for defending convicted rapist Ched Evans on today's episode of Loose Women.

Getty Images MJ Kim

During what was her debut appearance as a regular on the ITV daytime show's panel, discussions turned to whether the footballer, who was convicted of rape in 2012 and sentenced to five years in jail, should be allowed to return to his club, Sheffield United, once he's released from prison next week.

Finnigan, 66, spoke out in support of Evans, saying the rape wasn't violent and that he'd "served his time".

She said: "He's served his time. The rape – and I'm not by any means minimising any kind of rape – but the rape was not violent. He didn't cause any bodily harm to the person."

She went on to draw attention to the fact that the victim had "had too much to drink".

Getty Images Stu Forster

Finnigan said: "It was unpleasant. In a hotel room, I believe, and she was – she had far too much to drink. And, you know, that is reprehensible, but he has been convicted and he has served his time.

"Now, when he comes out, what are we supposed to do? Just actually refuse to let him do his job? Even though he has already been punished?"

Finnigan said public opinion would be different if Evans had been imprisoned for a crime other than rape.

She said: "Supposing it wasn't rape, which is so emotional and sort of complicated. We all have huge feelings about it. Women have huge feelings about it. Supposing he was in for...breaking and entering, or something like that, and he had served his time. What would you think then?

"It's worth thinking, isn't it, that he actually still denies his guilt. You can look at that from two ways. You could look at that and think, 'Right, well, he's not sorry, he hasn't admitted any remorse.' Or you could think he feels he didn't do it so he wants to become rehabilitated in his own way.

"I think everything depends basically, of course, on whether the club wants him back, but more importantly perhaps, whether the fans want him back. And I think he would have to brave, if he does go back, he would have to brave an awful lot of comments obviously from the fans who were there."

She concluded: "Someone's done a crime, they serve their time, and when they come out they shouldn't be punished for the rest of their lives."

It wasn't long before viewers took to Twitter to offer their opinions on Finnigan's comments.

Judy Finnigan defending a rapist? 'it wasnt a violent rape' 'she had a lot to drink' WOW. Rape is rape darling, get a grip. #shocking

Laura Sutcliffe@LaurastylesitupFollow

Judy Finnigan defending a rapist? 'it wasnt a violent rape' 'she had a lot to drink'
WOW. Rape is rape darling, get a grip. #shocking

4:48 PM - 13 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Hi @judyfinnigan. Just a heads up- all rape is violent. It is a bodily violation. And no amount of alcohol in the world negates that fact.

Sarah M@sazza_jayFollow

Hi @judyfinnigan. Just a heads up- all rape is violent. It is a bodily violation. And no amount of alcohol in the world negates that fact.

4:51 PM - 13 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

#judyfinnigan ought to refrain from ever giving her opinion on serious matters like rape as I'm fairly certain she's completely ignorant.

stace@sta_craFollow

#judyfinnigan ought to refrain from ever giving her opinion on serious matters like rape as I'm fairly certain she's completely ignorant.

4:07 PM - 13 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

The more you read of Judy Finnigan's comments the worse it gets. She says he'd have to be 'brave' to go back and play football.

Jonathan Hartley @publicityagentFollow

The more you read of Judy Finnigan's comments the worse it gets. She says he'd have to be 'brave' to go back and play football.

3:54 PM - 13 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Judy Finnigan is the reason that some rape victims do not report for fear of being blamed. What a disgusting woman, she should be ashamed.

sasha cooper@Sasha_pantsFollow

Judy Finnigan is the reason that some rape victims do not report for fear of being blamed. What a disgusting woman, she should be ashamed.

3:29 PM - 13 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Ched Evans is a disgusting cretin. How DARE Judy Finnigan say: "But the rape was not violent." RAPE IS RAPE, JUDY. Moron.

fliss thistlethwaite@felicity_journoFollow

Ched Evans is a disgusting cretin. How DARE Judy Finnigan say: "But the rape was not violent." RAPE IS RAPE, JUDY. Moron.

2:29 PM - 13 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

My God Judy Finnigan! Sometimes women are a woman's worst enemy. How can anyone possibly defend a rapist? Idiot. #rapeisrape #JudyFinnigan

Amy Elliott-Smith@ItsAmyESFollow

My God Judy Finnigan! Sometimes women are a woman's worst enemy. How can anyone possibly defend a rapist? Idiot. #rapeisrape #JudyFinnigan

3:19 PM - 13 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Outrageous comments by Judy Finnigan down playing the nature and effects of Ched Evans' rape on his victim. #LooseWomen Disgraceful

Dirty Girty @ No. 30@AllotmentchickFollow

Outrageous comments by Judy Finnigan down playing the nature and effects of Ched Evans' rape on his victim. #LooseWomen Disgraceful

12:51 PM - 13 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

@loosewomen #JudyFinnigan What a disgrace your comments on #rape. The issue is not with 'drunk' women but the men who rape. @EverydaySexism

Carla Keegans@CarlaK75Follow

@loosewomen #JudyFinnigan What a disgrace your comments on #rape. The issue is not with 'drunk' women but the men who rape. @EverydaySexism

12:50 PM - 13 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

A spokesman for ITV said: "Loose Women is a daily talk show centred around topical debate and frank discussion. Opinions are expressed and exchanged from a mix of viewpoints."

Ched Evans, 25, was jailed for five years in 2012 following the rape of a 19-year-old girl in Denbighshire. He has served less than half of his sentence.

PA Archive/Press Association Images Martin Rickett

During the trial, Evans admitted to having sex with the woman but said she had no recollection of the event. The prosecution said she was too intoxicated to consent to intercourse.

A petition urging Sheffield United not to re-sign Evans on his release has so far been signed by 100,000 people.

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