Manchester police pay £8,000 to woman urged to drop rape claim

Manchester police pay £8,000 to woman urged to drop rape claim

The woman says an officer told her that reporting the alleged rape would take a year to resolve and come to nothing in court.

Woman says officer suggested she and husband talk to alleged attacker ‘to set record straight’

Greater Manchester police (GMP) have paid out £8,000 to a woman who reported being drugged and raped, only to be pressed into dropping the case without a proper investigation “because nothing will come of it”.

The 31-year-old woman, who is married with three children, reported the rape on 14 July 2019, a few hours after waking up disoriented at the alleged perpetrator’s house in Wigan, Greater Manchester.

She said she was almost naked and had no memory of much of the previous evening, but suspected she had been raped after experiencing “excruciating” pain going to the toilet.

“It was worse than after childbirth, and I have had a forceps delivery, and been cut up,” she told the Guardian. She said she had grab marks up and down her arms.

She said two officers went round to see her that morning but were dismissive of her situation, suggesting she and her husband go to the man she feared had raped her to “set the record straight”.

Officers left after about 20 minutes without arranging for any physical tests to be carried out, and having got her to sign a statement saying she would take no further action.

Details of the payout emerged the day after a report from the police inspectorate found that GMP “doesn’t investigate crimes effectively, so some offenders escape justice and victims don’t get the service they deserve”.

The woman’s solicitors, Hudgell, said it was at least the third such payout they had won from GMP in the past 21 months.

In June 2020, the force paid a five-figure sum to a woman who was mocked in emails between officers after she alleged she was raped. Last month the force paid compensation to a homeless woman after she alleged officers had failed to properly investigate an assault on her in her tent.

In the latest case, a female officer is alleged to have taken the woman into a room on her own and encouraged her to drop the case.

“She advised me that reporting a rape meant ‘it would be over mine and my family’s heads for quite a while’, that it ‘would take a year to resolve’, and that if it went to court ‘nothing would come of it’. Then we went back in the other room and in front of everyone she said to my husband ‘I recommend you go to him [the alleged attacker] and see if you can set the record straight’,” the woman said.

An investigation was eventually carried out after the woman phoned the police again later that day.

Specialist officers arrived just before midnight and took her to hospital, where she was examined.

GMP agreed to pay £8,000 in damages but have made no admission of liability. The woman’s claim was made on the basis that officers violated her human rights by failing to conduct a sufficient investigation. She argued they should have known that delays in investigating claims would reduce the chances of proceeding to a prosecution.

Her lawyer, Nicola Bailey Gibbs, from Hudgells, said: “My client was treated in a wholly inappropriate manner, and it was a shocking error of judgment by trained police officers who completely failed in their duty of care for somebody who was in a distressed state and informing them that she believed she may have been drugged and raped.

“The officer believed the best way forward would be to attend the male’s property and have a mutual chat. In what scenario would it ever be acceptable to say to a potential victim, who is reporting a suspected rape, that they should go back to the property where the alleged attack had happened and discuss it with the individual they are reporting?”

GMP said a 43-year-old man had been arrested in connection with the case and that the force’s Professional Standards Branch was conducting an investigation, which was on hold until the criminal investigation had concluded.

A GMP spokesperson said: ‘“We always strive to place victim care at the heart of everything we do and we expect our officers and staff to uphold the highest standards, and whenever we fall short of expectations it is important it is reported so we can take appropriate action wherever necessary.

“We will endeavour to keep the victim in this case informed of our progress in both these matters.”