A COUNTY MP is throwing her weight behind an investigation which has been launched into the naming of a rape victim on the internet.
Corby and East Northamptonshire MP Louise Mensch collected messages from social networking site Twitter over the weekend and forwarded them to Welsh police.
The Tweets relate to the woman raped by Sheffield United and Wales footballer Ched Evans.
Evans, 23, was jailed for five years at Caernarfon Crown Court on Friday after being found guilty of raping a woman who was “too drunk to consent”.
Victims of sex crimes are entitled to life-long anonymity, but hundreds of people posted on the site insulting the victim, and calling for Evans to be freed.
On Monday, Mrs Mensch tweeted: “Here’s a bit of “banter” for all those naming a rape victim over the weekend – my office has printed off Tweets, handing to Welsh police.”
Speaking to the Evening Telegraph yesterday afternoon, Mrs Mensch said it was important that people realised they were not exempt from the law when posting messages on websites.
She said: “It is a criminal offence to name a rape victim.
“Other people have brought it to the police’s attention but I thought it would carry more weight if it came from an MP, as they have to respond to an MP.
“North Wales Police have said they are investigating. I wanted to capture as many of the Tweets as possible.
“People have talked about super-injunctions, but there is a big difference between them and naming a 19-year-old rape victim.
“We’ve just seen a conviction and a severe sentence for the racist abuse of Fabrice Muamba on Twitter.
“It is important to report these things to the police because only if there are prosecutions will it act as a deterrent.”
“People think if they type things on the internet they are exempt from the law, but it’s not true.”
Yesterday, a footballer accused of posting insults about the rape victim on Twitter, Sheffield United reserve Connor Brown, was suspended by his club pending the outcome of an investigation.
The club is conducting a probe into the 19-year-old’s Tweets about the 19-year-old woman.
The reserve-team player responded to Evans’ five-year prison sentence by Tweeting various comments in relation to the case and his support for his team-mate.
Evans admitted having sex with the victim at a hotel in North Wales last May.
In her evidence, the woman said she has no memory of the incident and the prosecution argued she was too drunk to consent to sexual intercourse.
Evans’ co-accused, Port Vale defender Clayton McDonald, 23, who also admitted having sex with the victim, was found not guilty.