Wednesday, June 2, 2010
A must-read story: The rape liar who destroyed two lives wants an apology
You see, the accuser had previously falsely accused another young man of rape. Some jurors broke down in tears when they heard that the 21 year old woman not only had wrongly accused someone else -- but that it led to him killing himself. The picture here is of the young man, who was just a boy when he was falsely accused, who took his own life, Daniel Devennie.
And guess what? She's anonymous by law, and the two males she destroyed have their names all over the internet in connection with rape charges. And now, today, she wants THE JUDGE to apologize for the comments he made in open court. Read the lengthy story after the jump:
One man killed himself, the other had his life destroyed. All because one girl falsely cried rape. So what does she have to say for herself?
The irony of moving to Sheffield from London hoping for a quieter life is not lost on this particular medical student.
After two frenetic years studying in the capital, the 27-year-old hoped a spell in the regions would improve his quality of life. How wrong he was.
Just four days after arriving in Sheffield, he was confronted by a uniformed police officer on his doorstep and arrested on suspicion of rape.
His accuser was a 21-year-old girl with whom he had enjoyed consensual sex just a few hours before - someone who was such a willing participant in the act that she had, at one point, spoken of her desire to have his babies.
In the ensuing months, the stress of the forthcoming court case and the cloud of doubt over him would cost the young student, Olumide Fadayomi, his home, his job and many of his close friendships.
In the end, it took a jury at Sheffield Crown Court just 45 minutes to clear his name, while Judge Patrick Robertshaw was so horrified it had come to court that he launched a pointed attack on the Crown Prosecution Service for pursuing the case.
He suggested that they had been motivated by the victim's desire for a trial, rather than a fair-minded assessment of the evidence. his anger was understandable.
Olumide's accuser - known as Miss X, because whatever the outcome of the court case, she enjoys lifelong anonymity - had, it emerged, made a similar accusation four years ago against a teenage boy.
On that occasion, after several months of investigation, the police decided there was not enough evidence to take the matter further.
That young man's name was Daniel Devennie - although unlike Olumide he is no longer around to give his version of events.
In January 2008, 18 months after he was first arrested, Daniel took his own life. He was just 21 years old.
And while it's undeniable there were other issues in the young man's life, his mother says her son's problems were compounded by the legacy of Miss X's accusation.
'It upset him and hurt him, and he kept going on and on about it,' his 43-year-old mother, Bonita Fielding, told the Mail.
'He was questioned about it several times and asked me: "how many times do I have to explain that I have not done anything wrong?" he didn't understand it.'
Few people would argue against the victims of rape and sexual assault being entitled to anonymity.
But there will be many people - Mrs Fielding and Mr Fadayomi among them - who also feel that the weight of the law has become unbalanced, particularly in an age of relaxed sexual mores, when lines of consent are all too often blurred.
That this disturbing series of events has come to light at a time when the Government has recently announced plans to grant anonymity to defendants in rape trials for the first time since the 1970s is, therefore, particularly apt.
Certainly the circumstances surrounding the complaints made by Miss X raise pertinent questions about this issue. Should two men have found their lives destroyed, while she will always enjoy anonymity?
What of Miss X, though? While her full history is not known, this much is undisputed: now 21 and one of three children, she left school with eight GCSEs and initially had hopes of a career in the Army.
After signing up in June 2005, however, she failed to complete the training and left after nine weeks, taking up her current work in a call centre.
According to her friends, she is close to her family and a 'naturally bubbly and chatty' person whose confidence has plummeted in the wake of recent events.
No doubt such tidings will ring hollow to Mrs Fielding, a school attendance officer who remarried four years ago after separating from Daniel's father.
In late Summer 2006, she opened the door of the smart semi-detached home in Penistone, near Sheffield, which she shared with Daniel and his two younger siblings, to find two uniformed police officers there.
"They said they needed to speak to Daniel about something,' she says. 'They couldn't tell me anything more, but it was something that had happened about 14 months before. I was taken aback, and when Daniel came home he didn't have any idea what it might be about.'
Daniel, then 18, soon found out. Later the same day, the officers returned to the house and took him to the local police station for questioning.
On his return, a devastated Daniel told his mother that a girl had accused him of rape.
'He said a girl claimed to police that he had dragged her onto a football pitch near their estate and raped her,' Mrs Fielding says.
'She said she had asked him to stop and he said "no", and she screamed her head off.
'He said it was ridiculous because if that had happened, someone would have heard her. He told me straight away they'd had sex, but in no way was it rape.'
Moreover since the alleged event had happened more than 14 months earlier, both mother and son were baffled as to why it had taken more than a year for Miss X to make her complaint - although her son, Mrs Fielding says, had his theories.
'Dan said he thought she was lying because she'd got a new boyfriend, and if he'd found out about her sleeping with Dan it would have really annoyed him, because Dan was quite popular locally and a little charmer. So it was easier for her to say it was rape.'
The investigation remained open for five or six months - a cloud over the head of such a young man.
Then, in early 2007, Daniel was informed that he would not be charged due to lack of evidence.
But by then, for Daniel, the damage had already been done.
For much of that year, Mrs Fielding says, her son was depressed - although he did not confide in her.
'He was a sensitive lad,' she says. 'A lot of things upset him, and a lot of things got him down.'
A move to Blackpool with a new girlfriend to take up decorating work was, she hoped, the fresh start her son needed.
But, instead, he chose another path. In January 2008, following a row with his girlfriend, Daniel took an overdose of pills and vodka.
He was rushed to hospital, but died a few days later, leaving his grieving mother with a host of unanswered questions.
Understandably, the latest court case has left her saddened and angered.
'how can she stay anonymous and he can't?' she asks. 'It demeans genuine rape victims because people start harbouring doubts.
'And for the man, the accusation never goes away - people think there's no smoke without fire.'
Olumide Fadayomi knows this only too well. After arriving in the UK from Nigeria in 2007 to continue his medical studies, he moved to Sheffield to do a music production course.
'I thought if I liked the city, I would transfer my degree course to the university,' he recalls this week.
Four days after moving in, he joined his housemates on a night out which ended in Static, a popular city nightclub. There, he was quickl y approached by Miss X.
'I saw this girl staring straight at me, then she came up and asked my name,' he recalls.
'She said she liked the way I smelled, and she liked my body too. We chatted for a while and then she kissed me.
'I was pretty surprised, but of course I didn't mind. She was a smooth talker - the sort that would make any man feel good about himself.
'I remember at one point she lifted up my shirt and was saying to her friend: "Look at his body, isn't it amazing?" ' This was later echoed in a witness statement given by a friend of Miss X's, who told how she had boasted she was going to 'have his body tonight'.
Like any red-blooded male, Olumide was flattered, and when Miss X suggested they 'get to know each other better ' , he willingly complied.
'We got a taxi back to my house, and during the journey she was saying she'd like to have my babies as she liked mixed-race children,' he recalls. 'I was laughing and feeling pretty good about myself, to be honest.'
Once back at his house, it was Miss X, he says, who initiated sex, boldly kissing his face and neck.
'She was being very complimentary, saying: "You've got such a gorgeous body," ' he says. 'She took her own dress off and removed my boxer shorts. Sex felt very natural, and afterwards we lay there looking into each other's eyes.'
Such was their ease in each other's company that Olumide says he was surprised, on emerging from the bathroom, to hear her on the phone to a friend arranging to leave.
'I heard her laughing and saying "Yes, I'm having sex", and then she told me she had to go and meet her friend. I was disappointed, as I'd assumed she was going to stay till morning.'
Instead, when Miss X said she had no money, he gave her £8 for a taxi. 'She thanked me, gave me a kiss on the cheek, and left.'
It's a scene which is enacted up and down the land every night of the week - although not, thankfully, with the consequences faced by Fadayomi.
After leaving the house at 6am to buy some food, he returned to find a police van parked outside. His first thoughts were that something untoward had happened to Miss X after she left him.
'The next minute, I'd been handcuffed and arrested on suspicion of rape,' he says. 'I couldn't believe it. I honestly felt like I was on another planet.'
Released on bail on the condition that he reported to the police station every day, a bewildered Olumide prayed that there was some mistake. 'I tried to call her, but I discovered she had given me a fake telephone number,' he says.
'I felt so alone. I was isolated in a new city, and I could only pray it would all go away.'
It didn't: three weeks later Mr Fadayomi was formally charged with rape. 'I was devastated,' he says.
'I couldn't eat for three days. All I could do was place faith in the notion that justice would prevail.'
In the meantime, his life was on hold. 'My housemates asked me to leave the house, and if it wasn't for one friend I would have been homeless.
'I even lost my job at a telesales firm where I was working to make extra cash, because it was too difficult to continue when my colleagues found out,' he said.
But one of the hardest parts was telling my mother and father in Nigeria. They are good Christian people, and they were heartbroken and very scared for me. But they never doubted me.
'Even so, I thought about taking my own life on more than one occasion, as I couldn't see another way out.'
As we now know, a jury took just 45 minutes to acquit him - after which Judge Robertshaw revealed to the court that Miss X had made a previous accusation.
That case had not come to trial, he said, because it was ' lacking in credibility', but the accused man committed suicide 'when facing that allegation'.
'When I found out about the other guy, I was devastated for him, as I knew how he felt. It could so easily have been me,' says Olumide.
No one, of course, would suggest that any allegation of rape is subject to anything other than the most rigorous and robust of proper legal procedures.
Nonetheless, this case has raised disturbing questions about the disparity between the way the accused and the accuser are treated.
Not that Miss X sees a grey area. Speaking to the Mail this week, she maintains that she has been unnecessarily demonised, and believes that Judge Robertshaw should apologise to her for his words in court.
'I want an apology from the judge for branding me a liar and blaming me for the death of another person,' she says. 'It is just not true. I am not to blame, and the judge has no evidence.
'I really am the victim here. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I am not a liar - in fact, I couldn't lie if I tried. It's not in my nature.'
When pressed, Miss X insisted she could not remember much of what happened after she met Olumide in the night club, although she maintains she remembers enough to know she did not consent to sex.
'I told the police the truth. They are used to finding out if people are lying. What possible motive did I have to accuse this man?
'There is a big difference between a false allegation and someone being found not guilty.'
There is, indeed, as Olumide Fadayomi knows only too well. Despite being acquitted, he must live for ever with the lingering stain of the accusation, unprotected by the anonymity that Miss X enjoys.
Yet astonishingly, after everything he has been through, he bears her no ill will.
'I don't hold anything against her, but I think she has problems, and I hope she gets herself on the right path because I don't want her to be able to do to any other man what she did to me.'
They are, even the most generous soul might think, more forgiving words than Miss X deserves.
Posted by Archivist at Wednesday, June 02, 2010