Essex Police defend no further action over rape allegations

Crime / Fri 2nd Apr 2021 at 10:13am

THE Metropolitan Police is investigating allegations that a serving officer raped two of his female colleagues reports the BBC.

The officer was not charged and has not been suspended but faces a misconduct hearing more than three years after the allegations were reported.

The women were awarded compensation but one of them says “we were just cast aside and not cared for”.

The Met says it takes “all allegations of domestic abuse extremely seriously”.

A BBC investigation with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found that the Met is also investigating whether details of the women’s allegations were leaked to the accused officer. 

The BBC has changed the women’s names to protect their anonymity and is not naming the male suspect. 

“Holly” was a junior police officer when she started a relationship with an older, more senior colleague. She says that after a few months he became controlling and violent. 

After a night out with friends in 2013, she says he dragged her by the hair and “threw me into the dining room table and was going crazy at me”. 

“I was saying, ‘please stop, you’re hurting me’.” 

She says he then hurled her against the arm of a sofa, cracking her ribs. “It was an unbelievable amount of pain. I couldn’t get my breath,” she says.

Neighbours called the police but Holly was too afraid to report the assault. 

On another occasion she says she was raped. 

The male officer also had a relationship and moved in with another colleague, “Kate”, who says that over three years she was also raped and assaulted. 

This included being “beaten up in my car” while it was parked on police premises.

“He started abusing me after four months of being together,” she says. “It progressed and progressed… he tried to kill me. He threw me against a chest of drawers in the bedroom.”

She says he then “ran” at her and “pinned me to the bed and strangled me”.

Soon after that Kate ended the relationship. She was put in touch with Holly by a mutual friend and quickly realised their experiences were a “carbon copy” of each other. 

In 2017, they both reported allegations of physical and sexual assault. The male officer denied them and after an investigation by Essex Police, the Crown Prosecution Service decided in 2019 there was not enough evidence to prosecute. 

“It was a really bad investigation,” marred by a lack of evidence gathering, according to Holly. She claims Essex Police “didn’t even finish taking all my allegations” and didn’t arrest the suspect. 

Essex Police said it carried out lengthy investigations but accepts “there were areas for improvement in the management of these investigations”.

Asked why the male officer was not arrested, the force said: “There was no immediate safeguarding concern due to the non-recent nature of the allegations and the lack of contact between suspect and victims.”

The male officer has not responded to our request for comment. 

Holly says she still lives in fear of meeting him at work. 

‘Very little support’

In 2020, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) awarded her £17,100, saying “police evidence indicates that you were a victim of sexual abuse”. 

CICA paid £11,600 to Kate, saying she had been raped and subjected to “serious physical abuse”.

CICA is part of the Ministry of Justice and awards compensation to victims of violent crime, sexual assault and abuse – but it does not need the same standard of proof as a criminal court. 

The Met decided last month, a year after CICA’s findings, that the officer accused of rape would face a misconduct hearing. They have not set a date. 

In a statement, the force said: “We take all allegations of domestic abuse extremely seriously and it is right and proper that the full circumstances of this case should be considered at a hearing. We continue to offer welfare support and assistance to the victims in this case.”

The Met confirmed the male officer had been taken off public-facing duties. Asked why he had never been suspended, it said a criminal investigation did not guarantee an officer would be suspended. 

But the way the Met handled her experience at a local level was horrendous, Holly said. 

“There was very little support, (it was) very poorly managed,” she said. “He massively controlled everything. He had his friends. He was looked after, whereas we were just cast aside and not cared for.”

At an early stage, the male officer was leaked details of the investigation. Internal police documents seen by the BBC showed this allowed him to prepare his defence.

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