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Ayia Napa: British teenager accused of false rape claim 'scared for her life'

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Media captionA British teenager accused of lying about being raped says she was 'scared for her life'

A British teenager was "scared for her life" when Cypriot police made her falsely confess to lying about being raped by Israeli tourists, a court has heard.

The 19-year-old said she texted her mother from the police station saying: "ASAP. I need help ASAP."

She is on trial in Cyprus, where she is accused of causing public mischief by allegedly falsely claiming to have been attacked at an Ayia Napa hotel in July.

She denies the charge.

Giving evidence at Famagusta District Court in Paralimni, the woman told the court she was raped but "forced" to retract her statement 10 days later.

Twelve young Israelis were arrested in connection with the allegations but were later released and returned home.

The woman's defence team said she was forced to sign the retraction under duress, threatened with arrest and denied access to a lawyer - which police deny.

The woman said Cypriot investigators, led by Detective Sergeant Marios Christou, told her police had obtained videos which showed she had consensual group sex.

"I asked to see the videos because I didn't know they existed," she said.

"He said that wasn't possible but he had studied them and it was very clear there was no rape."

"He threatened to arrest [my friend] and take her for conspiracy and he said that, because of all these so-called videos, he was going to arrest me If I didn't say that I had lied and that I would not see my mum until I was in handcuffs in a court," she said.

"I was messaging my mum, I was messaging my friends, saying, 'They are forcing me to sign these false statements. I need help.'

"I said I was really scared because I didn't think I would leave that police station without signing that statement," she continued.

"I told my friend that I was scared for my life."

'Embarrassed and insulted'

The court was read a string of text and Snapchat messages the woman sent as she hid her phone from police. A Snapchat message to her friend said: "They wouldn't let me talk to anyone.

"I said I have a right to a lawyer here they said not in Cyprus.

"Maybe in the UK not in Cyprus.

"They've honestly made me sign false statements."

The court heard the woman signed a retraction statement just before 02:00 local time - eight hours after she was picked up by police from her hotel on 27 July.

Giving evidence, Det Sgt Christou denied pressuring her.

He said he began suspecting she had lied about the rape after spotting inconsistencies between her first and second statements.

He said that, when he raised his suspicions and put forward potential reasons why she might have made up the allegations, she said: "Because they were videoing me, I felt embarrassed and insulted."

The woman could face a year in jail and a fine of €1,700 (about £1,500) if found guilty.

The trial continues.

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