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Ayia Napa: 'False rape claim' statement 'not proper English'

Ayia Napa Image copyright Getty Images

A British teenager accused of lying about being raped has said her statement withdrawing the claims was "not in proper English" and there was "no way" she would have written it.

The 19-year-old woman, who cannot be identified, told the court that police forced her to make the statement.

She is on trial in Cyprus accused of causing public mischief by allegedly falsely claiming to have been raped by 12 Israeli men in Ayia Napa on 17 July.

She denies the charge.

The woman, who is giving evidence at Famagusta District Court in Paralimni, broke down in tears as she was cross-examined for more than three hours on Wednesday.

According to her testimony, she was gang raped in a hotel room in the resort but 10 days later she says police forced her to retract the statement.

Prosecutors say she willingly wrote and signed the statement, which was brought out in court.

'Doesn't make grammatical sense'

Giving evidence, the woman said: "This is not in proper English. This is in Greek English.

"I'm very well educated. I'm going to university, I got an unconditional offer so there is no way I would write a paragraph like this."

Her lawyers say she was told what to write by Cypriot police, led by Detective Sergeant Marios Christou, and the teenager made the statement fearing she would be kidnapped or killed.

"It doesn't make grammatical sense," the teenager said.

"All the way through there isn't one sentence an English person would write."

She broke down in court as she said she had lied to her mother in a text sent from the police station, when she messaged: "Trust me, I'm OK."

She told the court: "I think any child will lie to their parents to tell them they are OK because parents don't stop worrying about their child.

"If your child had just been raped by 12 Israelis and wouldn't get out of bed and had a throat so swollen she couldn't breathe and was taken to the police station for what she thought was an hour but then went on to be nearly eight hours."


In court

By Anna Holligan, BBC News

She stood through hours of intensive cross-examination inside the claustrophobic courtroom. Mostly calm, occasionally frustrated by a line of questioning.

She fiddled with her hair, necklace and white knit jumper. British, Israeli and local Cypriot journalists scribbled notes.

Eagle-eyed police watched from the sidelines, ready to swoop the moment anyone tried to covertly check their mobile phones. The understated district courtroom offers an unlikely backdrop for a trial that's generated considerable foreign attention.

The 19-year-old had just left high school. She came to Ayia Napa in an attempt to "grow up" before embarking upon her university degree.

The only moment the teenager's composure crumbled was when the prosecutor probed her relationship with her mother.

Her mum - who the teenage girl described as her best friend - flew over from the UK immediately after the alleged rape to provide physical and emotional support. She smiled reassuringly from the cramped wooden benches.

The woman also said she had previously suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after an accident, and has been experiencing renewed symptoms following the alleged rape.

She added that she also had to take eight tablets a day, including HIV prevention medication.

"After it happened, even if a man was within a metre of me it would make me feel horrible, but they wouldn't make me feel threatened for my life," she said, adding that she felt "vulnerable" by the way Detective Sergeant Christou "was approaching me and shouting at me to stop crying".

"I felt like I was in danger because he wasn't going by the law, I wasn't allowed a lawyer," she added.

"I immediately assumed corruption and conspiracy so I wouldn't put it past him, I wouldn't be surprised if at that moment he would have kidnapped me and killed me."

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

The woman was granted bail at the end of August, after spending four and a half weeks in prison. She cannot leave the island.

She could face up to a year in prison and a 1,700 euro (about £1,500) fine if she is found guilty.

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