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ITV's 'Believe Me: The Cyprus Rape Case' Documentary Promises To Be A Harrowing Watch

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ITV's 'Believe Me: The Cyprus Rape Case' Documentary Promises To Be A Harrowing Watch

A new documentary will air on ITV this evening, examining the case of a British teenager who was accused of lying about being gang-raped by 12 men in Ayia Napa.

Believe Me: The Cyprus Rape Case will see former Detective Chief Superintendent David Gee re-examine evidence in the case which saw the 19-year-old handed a four-month suspended jail sentence in January.

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The teenager, from Derbyshire, was found guilty of Public Mischief in one of the most controversial and high-profile rape trials in recent years.

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Her nightmare ordeal began last July when she travelled to the party resort of Ayia Napa, in Cyprus, where she met a 21-year-old Israeli man who she says later gang raped her in a hotel room, along with 11 of his friends.

Alone in a foreign country, she reported the rape to the police in Cyprus and recalled the traumatic turn of events. She was reportedly interrogated about her ordeal for eight hours without a lawyer present.

The men - aged between 15 and 22 - were arrested and the teenager was set to fly home. But days later, the case took a horrific twist when she was allegedly pressured into retracting her statement, and accused of fabricating the incident.

In the documentary, the teenager - who is known as Emily in the programme - will speak to ITV's Julie Etchingham in her first television interview.

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The teenager was found guilty of Public Mischief in one of the most controversial and high-profile rape trials in recent years (Credit: PA)
The teenager was found guilty of Public Mischief in one of the most controversial and high-profile rape trials in recent years (Credit: PA)

Speaking about the moment she realised police didn't believe her, she said: "I can't remember the exact feeling of hearing that, just it was hours of me in and out of this state of literal panic attacks where I couldn't breathe, because it's just not the truth, it's not, it's not. That didn't happen."

Throughout her eight-hour interrogation with police last summer, the woman had no lawyer present. What resulted was a retraction statement - signed by the teenager - to say she had lied about the rape because she "felt embarrassed" as she "did not know [the men] were recording [the incident]". However, doubt has been cast over the authenticity of the statement.

The teenager says she was "bullied" into retracting the allegation and stands by her initial report that she was gang raped by the 12 men.

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When Julie asks her what was going through her mind as she wrote the retraction statement, she says: "There was no other way out of that police station other than sign that retraction statement.

"I thought as soon as I am outside that volatile environment I can sort this out. When you're in that situation, the only sensible thing to do is to conform."

The doctor who treated her hours after the incident, Sergios Sergiou, said he "believed" the teenager, explaining: "She was very stressed and having a panic attack. She was crying and screaming and her friends said to me some guys had raped her."

Meanwhile, forensic linguist, Dr Andrea Nini, who analysed the retraction statement said the language used was "highly unlikely" to have been written by the well-educated teenager.

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Women's rights groups could be seen campaigning in support of the teenager (Credit: PA)
Women's rights groups could be seen campaigning in support of the teenager (Credit: PA)

The men, who all deny the teenager's claims, never faced charges. But in the new ITV documentary, Gee claims the case was not investigated as thoroughly as it should have been.

He said: "It's very serious if people are allowed to walk free without full exploration of the circumstances of the case. From what I've read. I'm comfortable in saying that this case has not been investigated as thoroughly as it should have been."

The documentary also includes a series of interviews with witnesses and friends, who were with the teenager after the incident occurred, including a British man named Jacob, her friend Becca and room mate Charlotte, who described how she found her friend.

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"She was in such a traumatic state and like crying and bruises all over her body, like it was a horrible sight," she recalled.

"She was just scared if they were outside the doctors or outside looking at her or... like she was scared what they were going to do.

"And we finally got her in the police car and she literally just curled in a ball with her head on my lap like just crying her eyes out. And the journey there seemed like a lifetime, because... Just the shock and the way she was."

The documentary will also feature interviews with friends and witnesses (Credit: PA)
The documentary will also feature interviews with friends and witnesses (Credit: PA)

Emily was forced to remain in Cyprus for six months before she was finally allowed to leave following the trial.

The Cyprus police have said their investigation was handled with professionalism, and they deny improper conduct.

At the trial, Sergeant Marios Christou said the teenager had been offered a translator and a lawyer, and there had been no problem with misunderstanding. He denied acting improperly.

Emily, who was diagnosed with PTSD following the ordeal, told Julie: "There is no doubt in my mind that in the end, be it a year down the line, be it 50 years down the line. I will achieve justice."

Believe Me: The Cyprus Rape Case airs tonight, Tuesday 14th April at 10.45pm on ITV.

Featured Image Credit: ITV

Topics: Life News, News, TV News, TV Entertainment

Lucy Devine
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