GMP pays £8,000 to woman urged to drop rape claim

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has 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”.

Mar 4, 2022
By Website Editor

Two officers went to see the woman, from Wigan, in July 2019, after she said she had woken up in a strange house and was fully undressed and in pain.

She said: “I tried to explain what had happened as best I could as I still couldn’t make sense of what was going on and I was still feeling dizzy, even when officers arrived. I told them I thought I had been drugged and raped.

“The woman officer took me into a room on my own and 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’.

“I felt like I had been treated disgustingly, I was just a number not a person.

“My sexual violence support adviser says it’s the worst case she has ever dealt with. I have felt like giving up, it’s affected not just me but the whole family.”

The woman, who believes her drink was spiked in a bar, phoned back the next day and insisted the matter be properly investigated.

She was eventually examined following an 11-hour wait and gave a statement, but says GMP has since given little update on the progress of the case.

GMP agreed an out-of-court settlement with no admission to the claims, said the woman’s lawyers Hudgell Solicitors.

Associate solicitor Nicola Bailey-Gibbs 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.”

She said it was the third case within two years in which GMP has paid damages to clients of Hudgell Solicitors, due to concerns over the way allegations of sexual assaults on women had been investigated.

In 2020, a five-figure damages settlement was paid to a woman who was mocked in emails between officers after she alleged she was raped.

Earlier this year the force also agreed compensation with a homeless woman after it was alleged the force had failed to properly investigate an assault on her.

As part of that case, it was alleged that had the police undertaken a proportionate investigation, they would have established a link to four other alleged sexual assaults involving homeless women.

Mrs Bailey-Gibbs added: “This is a worrying pattern. We know from the many victims of sexual assault we support that finding the courage to speak out and make allegations is so, so difficult.

“Being treated in this way will only make more people reluctant to come forward and would of course sadly make the world a more dangerous place for women.”

In a statement, GMP said: “In relation to this case, a man aged 43 has been arrested and a criminal investigation is currently ongoing which has been undertaken by Wigan district CID.

“The Professional Standards Branch is conducting a thorough investigation into this case but this is currently on hold until the criminal investigation has been concluded and so it would be inappropriate to comment any further at this time.

“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.”

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