Monday, November 8, 2010

Rape accusation led to Torquay soldier's family being shunned in street

Thanks to AfOR for the tip.

A SOLDIER who was cleared of raping a teenager in Torquay has spoken out.

Lance Corporal David Lamprey, 29, was accused of rape after an encounter with a girl he met in Torquay in October last year.

A trial was due to take place at Exeter Crown Court this month.

But the case was dropped in September when the Crown Prosecution Service decided there wasn't a realistic prospect of conviction.

Lance Corporal Lamprey, who serves with 2nd Battalion The Rifles, said: "I knew I had done nothing wrong, but the problem is trying to convince other people.

"The military have supported me, but if I had been convicted then I would have lost my career. The Army would have washed its hands of me.

"This has been a worry for more than 12 months."

Lance Corporal Lamprey was praised for his bravery in Afghanistan only a few weeks before he was accused of rape.

He was on duty driving a Jackal armoured vehicle in Sangin, in Helmand, when it was blown up by an improvised explosive device.

He lost the hearing in his left ear and he could have died because a second unexploded IED was discovered beneath the vehicle.

Anthony Lamprey, his father, said: "My son was hailed a hero after Afghanistan, but it has been all downhill since then.

"When people saw the story in the paper, we were shunned. We would see people we knew in the street and they would ignore us.

"It was upsetting. "

Lance Corporal Lamprey returned from a six-month tour in Afghanistan in September last year.

While on a stag party weekend in Torquay, he met a 19-year-old woman. She later made a rape allegation.

Lance Corporal Lamprey was arrested the next day at Bristol Airport as he prepared to rejoin his unit.

Lance Corporal Lamprey said: "I felt guilty until proven innocent.

"I didn't know how I would convince the 12 members of the jury, who didn't know me.

"I have become wary and have lost a lot of trust since the incident."

Lance Corporal Lamprey said the proceedings have cost him thousands of pounds, paying for a solicitor and having to travel back and forth for court appearances."

The Crown Prosecution Service said in a statement: "This was a difficult and sensitive case. The CPS carefully reviewed the evidence and after much consideration made the decision to offer no evidence because there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction."

The police officer in the case declined to comment.

[FRS COMMENT] - no longer a realistic prospect of conviction. You will pardon me if that comes across as: "she changed her story so many times, and with that, and the lack of evidence of a crime, we decided to drop it." I could be wrong on that, but it certainly sounds similar to other cases where that's happened.