Tuesday, April 17, 2012

19 rape claims in a decade

A transsexual has made 19 rape claims over the last decade - and it has cost the taxpayer £200,000 to investigate them.

The woman, in her 30s, made her latest claim after allegedly being attacked.

Each time a rape is reported police are forced to spend £10,000 on legal fees, carrying out forensic tests and investigating.

It is unclear whether any of the cases have led to a prosecution.

The woman made her 19th rape claim after allegedly being attacked when she went to meet a man for sex in Sutton, Surrey, the Sun reported. She had first been contacted by him on an internet dating website.  Scotland Yard confirmed that a 26-year-old man had been arrested in connection with the incident before being released on bail. The suspect allegedly recorded the woman threatening to have him arrested.

A police spokesman refused to discuss whether the woman had made any other rape claims.

Officers have no choice but to probe every single claim because of the risk of getting it wrong. Every time an allegation of rape is made the suspect is arrested and handcuffed, taken to a police station, and has his fingerprints taken.

If police dismissed cases because they didn't believe the allegations, it would discourage victims from coming forward.  Police missed two opportunities to catch rapist taxi driver John Worboys, 57, who targeted 102 women over a five year period. After the high-profile blunder they are extra careful to look into all cases.

If rape claims are shown to be invented, police have the power to prosecute the person who made the claim for wasting police time.

Jo Wood, from Rape Crisis England and Wales, said that the woman should be free to report every alleged rape.

'It looks to me as if she could do with some support work - she seems to be ending up in these situations where she is in danger,' she said. 'She is obviously screaming out for help.  Given the amount of money that has been spent investigating these cases they should be asking further questions and trying to help and support this woman. The fact that someone has come forward 19 times is phenomenal - and it is great that the police are investigating them all.'