Ex-Sunderland footballer Cabral cleared of rape

Ex-Sunderland footballer Cabral cleared of rape

A former Premier League footballer has been cleared of raping a woman he met in a nightclub.

The woman, who cannot be named, told a jury that ex-Sunderland player Cabral, whose real name is Adilson Tavares Varela, pinned her down on his bed and raped her after they met during a night out in Newcastle.

But Varela, 27, told Hull Crown Court he did not know why the woman would try to destroy his life.

The player said they had consensual sex after going back to his flat in Gateshead with friends, including retired French international Anthony Reveillere, in January last year.

Giving evidence, Varela told the jury of five men and seven women: "She's lying."

The midfielder said: "I never raped her, I was not aggressive towards her.

"When you are accused of raping someone, you then sit down and start thinking thoroughly why would someone come up with all these lies if not trying to destroy your life."

Giving evidence, the 22-year-old woman repeatedly denied that she liked and sought out black footballers.

She admitted knowing a series of players but denied having sex with all but one, with whom she had a longer relationship.

The jury was shown mobile footage of the complainant apparently in bed with two Newcastle United footballers just two days before the trial began.

But one of them, Kevin Mbabu, told the jury that the woman returned to the flat he shares with team-mates Rolando Aarons and Ivan Toney after a night out in Newcastle.

The defender said the footage was taken of himself, Mr Aarons, the woman and her friend in his bed, but that nothing sexual happened.

Cape Verde-born Varela, who now plays for Swiss team FC Zurich, gave evidence with help from an interpreter.

He was cleared of two counts of rape.

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