Monday, May 11, 2015

Yet another false rape claim in Britain -- and a totally irresponsible police response to it

The instant Hilary Green heard her student son’s voice on the telephone, she knew something was terribly wrong. But never in her wildest nightmares did she ever imagine that he would tell her he had been accused of raping a woman at a party.

That anguished call was the beginning of a 15-month ordeal. ‘Although he never even had sex with this woman and it was clearly a false allegation, his life was ripped apart,’ says Hilary, 56, a public health scientist, who has stepped forward to speak about her son’s situation and what she maintains is his mistreatment at the hands of the police.

‘The stress forced him to drop out of university, and he went from being easy-going to someone who was tearful and fearful.’

It is a terrible accusation – one that means her son, although innocent and willing to speak to The Mail on Sunday, will only do so on condition of anonymity (his mother is using her maiden name). ‘I can understand how some young men have been driven to suicide,’ he says. ‘I will never be the same trusting and carefree person I used to be.’

It wasn’t until the case came to trial, says Hilary, that the family realised just how little police officers had bothered to investigate the alleged victim.

‘Apart from her allegations, there wasn’t a shred of physical evidence she’d ever been raped,’ says Hilary, who has another son, 27, and a daughter, aged 24, with husband James, a retired Ministry of Defence administrator.

‘She had a history of mental illness, depression, attention-seeking behaviour and lying. Most shocking was that this was the second time she had falsely accused a man of rape.’

It took a jury at Winchester Crown Court just an hour to clear her son when the case was heard in January. Even though the woman’s claims were entirely false, she is guaranteed anonymity by the law, unlike Hilary’s son.

The family, from Salisbury, Wiltshire, have since made a formal complaint and are consulting lawyers about suing the police.

They claim officers neglected to even consider the woman’s rape accusation was false, and insist that their son should never have been charged.

Now 22, he is one of an increasing number of men who have been hauled through the courts by women making false rape claims.

His ordeal began in September 2013 when he went to a friend’s black-tie 21st birthday party and met his accuser, a former Oxford University student.

Their evening ended with ‘a few cuddles and kisses’ at the house, but nothing more. Three weeks later, he bumped into the woman again, spending the day and evening with her and a group of friends. But it wasn’t until two weeks later he received a call from police who said they wanted to question him about a rape allegation at the party.

‘At first this woman said she had woken up at the party and found herself being raped,’ says Hilary.

‘Then that story changed to she had been pinned down and raped. You might have thought the police might suspect she was lying as her story kept changing. But they kept on putting these allegations to him as if they were facts.’

He feels the police didn’t believe him or listen to him from the beginning. After being charged, he claims he then had to endure a magistrates’ court hearing where he was spoken about by police as if ‘already guilty’.

However, when the case came to trial it emerged that not only had the woman told five people different stories about the night in question, but that she had already falsely accused another man. ‘The police did an appalling job,’ says Hilary.

‘Apart from putting an innocent man through hell, thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money were wasted on a trial that should never have happened.

‘Of course all rape allegations should be thoroughly investigated. But police should investigate the rape victim too.’

Her son, who hoped by now to be starting a career in advertising, dropped out of his art and design studies. He now works in a shop. He says the trauma of the case has left him a chronic insomniac who suffers stress-related eczema and headaches.

Last night Hampshire Constabulary said a complaint had been received. A spokesman said: ‘This is being investigated from a professional standards perspective.’

Original report here

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