Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Faulty British rape investigation leads to death of two children

Jean Say

A police unit that investigates sex crimes pressurised a woman to drop a rape claim against a man who went on to murder his two children, a watchdog said today.

Jean Say killed his daughter Regina, eight, and son Rolls, 10, in 2011 when they went to stay with him for a weekend in Southwark, South London.

The earlier rape allegation against him was dismissed by a detective sergeant based in the Sapphire unit at Southwark, south London, who said the circumstances did not constitute rape because the woman 'consented'.

He then went on to slit his children's throats as they slept and was jailed for 30 years after admitting to the killings ahead of a trial.

Today a report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission said: 'There is no doubt from the evidence that the woman made an allegation of rape at Walworth police station which should have been believed and thoroughly investigated.'

The IPCC also said that the police's handling of the case had been 'wholly inappropriate' after finding the unit failed to believe victims in the first instance.

The report went on: 'The pressure to meet targets as a measure of success, rather than focussing on the outcome for the victim, resulted in the police losing sight of what policing is about - protecting the public and deterring and detecting crime.'

The IPCC blamed the Sapphire unit for adopting its own procedures that encouraged officers to take retraction statements from victims in cases where it was thought they might later withdraw or not reach the standard of prosecution.

The report also found that victims were first questioned by a detective constable before being interviewed by a specialist officer.

When asked if any officers had been disciplined or might be disciplined in the future a Met spokesman said: 'It's still under consideration as we were waiting for the outcome of today's report.'

This meant they were questioned repeatedly, going against standard practice that a victim should be believed in the first instance until evidence showed otherwise.

Original report here

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