UK

Richard Madeley in warning to Twitter trolls over rape threats

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Media captionTV presenter Richard Madeley has warned Twitter trolls

TV presenter Richard Madeley has said people who sent "sick rape threats" to his daughter are in "deep trouble".

Chloe Madeley received threats on Twitter after defending her mother, Judy Finnigan, who caused controversy when she described a rape committed by footballer Ched Evans as "non-violent".

Mr Madeley tweeted "prosecution awaits" for the culprits but refused to comment on whether he had contacted police.

The Met Police said they were not aware of any complaint about the matter.

However, a spokesman added it could have been reported to any police force.

In an email to BBC Radio 1's Newsbeat Miss Madeley said she wanted to stand up to "vicious attention seekers."

She added: "I always ignore the disgusting troll tweets I get because I honestly do not want to give them any attention, but the tweet in question took it to another level."

Evans was jailed for five years in 2012 for raping a 19-year-old woman, but has served half of his sentence and is expected to be released on Friday.

'Horrendous crime'

Speaking on Monday about the possibility that Evans could return to professional football, Ms Finnigan said the 25-year-old had "served his time".

On ITV's Loose Women, she said: "The rape - and I am not, please, by any means minimising any kind of rape - but the rape was not violent, he didn't cause any bodily harm to the person."

"It was unpleasant, in a hotel room I believe, and she [the victim] had far too much to drink."

Following criticism of her comments on Twitter, Ms Finnigan said: "I apologise unreservedly for any offence that I may have caused as a result of the wording I used."

In a statement, she said she was discussing what should happen to prisoners after their release.

"I absolutely wasn't suggesting that rape was anything other than an horrendous crime," she added.

Reacting to the situation with her own Twitter post, Miss Madeley wrote: "To believe my mother is pro 'non violent rape' is ridiculous and I am shocked that so many people have jumped to this conclusion.

"To the trolls wishing rape on me, stop, you are utterly pathetic."

Football return?

One of those who criticised Ms Finnigan was Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird, who said: "No bodily injury has little relevance; it doesn't have to do physical damage to be rape and it is the essence of violence to force himself upon her."

Evans was not sacked by his club, Sheffield United, when he was sent to prison - but the club allowed his contract to expire in June 2012.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Ched Evans is expected to be released on Friday

Current manager Nigel Clough has confirmed he has spoken to club officials about the possibility of Evans returning after his release.

"We've had one or two discussions and the owners will make a decision on it," Clough told BBC Radio Sheffield.

"It is above a football level. If he comes back then we [the coaching staff] will decide whether to play him or not."

More than 140,000 people have signed an online petition calling on Sheffield United not to let Evans return.

Evans, who was refused leave to appeal against his conviction in 2012, began a fresh attempt in July, asking the Criminal Cases Review Commission to review his case which could lead to a new appeal.

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