A woman whose rape allegation was dismissed as “b******s” by police officers in mocking emails has received a five-figure payout, her lawyers said.
The alleged victim contacted Greater Manchester Police in November 2011 to claim that she had been seriously sexually assaulted, but this was not recorded as a crime.
Officers came back to the woman five years later – two weeks before her wedding – to say that the same man had been accused by another alleged victim.
They told her that they had lost the recording of her original interview and she would have to set out her evidence again.
In a statement through Hudgell Solicitors, the woman told the PA news agency: “It had been so hard to feel so dismissed and judged.
“When I gave my original statement I felt I wasn’t being believed. I heard nothing from the police either as they said it all depended on the forensics.
“I just assumed they’d boxed it off as nothing could be proved. I never felt supported, just ignored, and I had to try and get on with life.
“Because of them coming back to me in 2016, this brought the nightmare back to my life. I married knowing I’d have to relive what had happened to me, and that was certainly not something you want starting out in a marriage.
“It was really hard to try and cope with, and I didn’t cope.”
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) have apologised to the woman, saying the level of service she received was “well below the very least she would have expected”.
In email exchanges, a detective sergeant wrote to a police constable, before forensic results had been returned, saying: “No crime submitted due to it all being b******s.”
The female Pc replied: “Sure, forensics won’t even authorise it.”
The pair ignored a recommendation that further DNA testing should be carried out on clothing, the alleged victim’s solicitors said.
They exchanged further messages, with the Pc emailing the sergeant to say: “As thought, no trace of semen.”
The more senior officer replied: “You’re joking!!! I thought this case was nailed on!! She had a vision of darkness, a heavy feeling and everything!!”
In 2015, the same man was accused of raping a second woman, and the following year officers contacted the first alleged victim.
She gave her statement again, but the case later collapsed because the second alleged victim was too ill to give evidence in court.
“He walked free again, all because the police failed to listen to me and take me seriously the first time,” added the woman.
“I think it is absolutely appalling. They have had two chances to stop this man and he is still out there now. It will happen again, of that I am sure.”
The woman believes that police failed to take her claims seriously because she was at a house party and had been drinking.
She said: “It has totally killed any confidence or respect I have for the police.”
In total, four officers were investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and found to have a case to answer for misconduct for failing to properly investigate an allegation of rape and failing to record it as a crime.
Two of the officers had already left the force before the IOPC investigation was launched, and the female constable resigned before her misconduct hearing.
The detective sergeant received a written warning.
Victoria Richardson, from Hudgell Solicitors, said: “This has been an appalling case and one of the worst examples we have come across of police officers not only failing in their job, but also failing to show professionalism and failing in basic levels of decency.”
A spokesman for GMP said: “We would first and foremost like to apologise wholeheartedly for the distress caused to the woman involved.
“The level of service she received fell well below the very least she would have expected. Although this case was a few years ago and our processes have changed significantly, this is no less upsetting for the victim.
“We would like to reassure the public that the actions of those involved don’t reflect the diligent and professional manner our staff display each and every day.”