Police watchdog to investigate Gloucestershire gang rape trial collapse

A composite image of Patrick Foster, James Martin, Leo Mahon and Thady Duff Image copyright PA
Image caption From left to right: Patrick Foster, James Martin, Leo Mahon and Thady Duff were cleared of rape

A detective who failed to disclose "game-changing" evidence contributing to the collapse of a rape trial is to be investigated along with his force.

Four men were cleared of raping a 20-year-old woman at a college ball in Gloucestershire.

After the trial collapsed, Det Con Ben Lewis was criticised by the judge for getting too close to the complainant.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission will analyse Gloucestershire Police's handling of the case.

The woman had claimed the men attacked her at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester in May 2014.

But, following delays due to the late disclosure of evidence and a review of the case, the prosecution offered no evidence.

'Serious omissions'

It meant the four defendants - Thady Duff, Leo Mahon and Patrick Foster, all 22, and James Martin, 20 - were cleared.

IPCC has decided an independent investigation is "appropriate".

Last week during a hearing on defence costs, Judge Jamie Tabor QC, the Recorder of Gloucester, criticised Det Con Lewis, the lead officer in the case.

The judge said the officer had got too close to the complainant and did not understand his job properly, which led to "stark and very serious omissions".

He said the officer had failed to disclose "game-changing" evidence.

A spokesman for the IPCC said the watchdog would "carefully examine the actions of the officers involved during both the investigation and the pre-trial process".

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