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Sky News accidentally names Ched Evans rape victim

The broadcaster displayed tweets betraying her anonymity.

Sky News has been forced to apologise to the woman raped by footballer Ched Evans after inadvertently displaying a Twitter feed that named her.

The Sheffield United footballer was convicted of rape and sentenced to five years in jail at Caernarfon Crown Court last week. His sentence caused outrage on Twitter at the weekend, with fans of the 23-year-old leaping to his defence, some going so far as to name the victim. 

And rather ironically, in its coverage of the Twitter scandal, Sky News accidentally published the 19-year-old victim's name last night. 

In a statement, the broadcaster said that it would "like to apologise to the victim and her family for any distress caused."

But the statement insisted that minimal damage was done, adding that "if watching in real-time viewers would not have noticed."

After the victim was named on Twitter her mother said: "Putting her name on Twitter is just another horrendous ordeal for her and we have been assured the police are going to come down like a ton of bricks on these people."

Rape victims are granted anonymity under the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act in 1976. Police warned tweeters who named the victim that "offenders will be brought to justice."

Evans' teammate Connor Brown called the 19-year-old a "slag" and "money-grabbing little tramp." He has since been suspended from Sheffield United.



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Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.