Scotland Yard Admits 'Shocking' Failings in Teen Rape Case
Thursday 13th December 2012
Scotland Yard has admitted 'shocking' failings in the rape investigation of a teenage girl.
The 15 year old was raped by a 28 year old man in 2005 but the suspect wasn't arrested until three months later, despite police having his address, vehicle registration and mobile number.
The girl's mother claims it took a lot of pressure to get to that point, and at a trial in 2006 it became clear that police had not interviewed potential witnesses and had lost crucial phone evidence, which could have undermined the Defendent's account.
The loss of the evidence was described as a "disgrace" by the trial judge.
An investigation discovered that officers had been told to prioritise car crime.
The mother of the teen contacted support group Women Against Rape after the trial fell though, who launched a civil suit against the Metropolitan Police claiming the girl's human rights had been breached.
An out of court settlement has now been reached with the force paying out £15,000 in damages but the girl's mother has criticised the culture inside the police force.
"The police thought we were going to give up, and unless you fight all the way, they will intimidate you and smash you down with their enormous power and resources." she accused.
"But we were determined to win, for my daughter and all the other girls who have been denied justice. Why should victims who are let down have to go through this?"
Four officers were reprimanded as part of the subsequent investiation and a shake up of the sexual offence teams took place.
In a statement, Scotland Yard defended its handling of the case.
"In November 2010 the MPS received a claim which stated that the MPS had been in breach of its positive duty under article three by not carrying out an effective rape investigation.
"There are points of law and processes that are gone through with any legal claim received by the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service).
"We are aware of the victim's comments of distress at the legal proceedings, and that some legal arguments may have appeared insensitive to the victim, but that is not the intention of the MPS.
"Following the legal arguments there were discussions with the victim's solicitor with regard to settlement and we came to a mutual agreement on an amount."