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Tuesday, 07 November 2017

Rape victim launches crowdfunding campaign to bring private prosecution

Written by Georgina Stubbs

A crowdfunding campaign has been launched by a woman who claims she was raped in an attempt to bring a private prosecution against her alleged attacker.

Waiving her right to anonymity Emily Hunt said she was told by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that they would not be bringing charges due to insufficient evidence.

The 38-year-old told the Press Association that she was drugged and raped, and that she woke up in a hotel room naked and "utterly terrified" following the alleged assault in May 2015.

"I didn't know where I was, I didn't know what was happening. I was cold and curled up on my side - there was this throw over me," she said.

"I knew it was something that I didn't own. I had this feeling of waking up and knowing that something was really, really wrong."

The mother-of-one who lives in Hackney, London, said her last memory is of finishing lunch with her dad at around 4pm.

She said there a "total black hole" in her recollection of the day until around 10pm and has no memory of meeting her alleged rapist.

"There is CCTV footage of me being very flirty, kissing him, holding hands and all over him," she said of the moments leading to the alleged attack.

"I don't remember being in the bar where they said I met him. None of it makes sense."

She said CCTV footage also shows her to be in "such an intoxicated state" that she fell onto a bench in the reception of a hotel in Bethnal Green, east London.

The strategy consultant, who is originally from New York, said she contacted a friend of hers once she came to in the hotel room, and that he then alerted the police.

Ms Hunt said she was not taken for a forensic medical exam by officers in the hours after the alleged rape because they said she was too intoxicated to consent to it.

She claims the police "did not do what they needed to do from the outset", with delays in getting statements and mistakes in the timeline of a toxicology analysis.

And that it was a year after her alleged rape before officers revealed her sober attacker had filmed her on his phone lying naked on the bed and unconscious.

She said the alleged rapist was also found to be in possession of Viagra and LSD.

In response Scotland Yard confirmed they arrested a 35-year-old man on suspicion of rape in May 2015, but that the CPS decided not to prosecute him in the September of that year.

The force said a number of complaints were made about their investigations by Ms Hunt, and that these were passed to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, who reviewed them and decided not to uphold them.

Describing the option of a private prosecution as "both horrible and awesome" she is looking to raise £100,000 to cover the cost of legal proceedings and to eventually help other women.

Ms Hunt said: "I have been let down, let down in so many ways along this path.

"The only thing that is going to make me feel better is for this guy to go to jail, and for me to be able to help other women who have been let down to know there is another option."

A CPS spokesman said that having looked carefully at all the available evidence in Ms Hunt's case, a specialist prosecutor decided there was insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction.

"At the request of the victim, the case was subject to a further review by the head of our rape and sexual offences team, who upheld the original decision," he said.

"We met with the victim to explain the decision further and answer any questions she had.

"While we are of course sympathetic to the complainant in this case, this is not a prosecution we were able to bring to court."

With more than £5,000 so far pledged to her private prosecution campaign on the site GoFundMe, Ms Hunt said she has been assured by legal professionals that there is a "really good chance of conviction".

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