WILMSLOW footballer Ched Evans has won his appeal against his conviction for raping a 19-year-old woman.

The Court of Appeal judges in London have ordered he must face a fresh trial on the charge.

The decision was announced today, Thursday, following appeal proceedings last month.

The former Sheffield United striker and Welsh international was present in the packed London courtroom with girlfriend Natasha Massey, the daughter of town jeweller Karl Massey, by his side to hear the result of his conviction challenge.

Lady Justice Hallett, Mr Justice Flaux and Sir David Maddison had heard submissions over two days from Kieran Vaughan QC, for Evans, and from Eleanor Laws QC, for the Crown.

Evans, now 27, was convicted in April 2012. He was found guilty at Caernarfon Crown Court of raping the woman at a hotel in Rhyl, North Wales.

His conviction was referred to the Court of Appeal for review by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which investigates possible miscarriages of justice.

Lady Justice Hallett, announcing the court's decision, said the judges had heard "fresh evidence" during the appeal hearing on March 22 and 23.

She said: "In summary, we have concluded that we must allow the appeal and that it is in the interests of justice to order a retrial.

"Nothing can be reported that might prejudice the fairness of that re-trial. Nothing can be reported that might prejudice the fairness of that re-trial.

"That means the contents of this statement may be reported and broadcast, in full, but nothing more about the appeal proceedings may be reported until the re-trial is concluded.

"The identity of the complainant in this case must not be reported."

The venue of the re-trial, the trial judge and the date will be determined by Senior Presiding Judge for the Wales circuit Nicola Davies.

A statement issued on behalf of Evans said he was extremely grateful that the Court of Appeal had ruled that his conviction for rape was unsafe and should be quashed.

"He wants to thank his lawyers, Kieran Vaughan QC and David Emanuel of Garden Court Chambers, London, Shaun Draycott of Draycott Browne Solicitors, Manchester and Liberton Investigations for their hard work and commitment in relation to the CCRC application and the appeal, as well as his partner Natasha, their families and friends and all those members of the public who have offered him support throughout.

"No further statement will be made as it is acknowledged by Mr Evans that the legal process has not reached a final conclusion and there will be further hearings of significance on dates to be fixed in due course."

Until his new trial Evans is on unconditional bail