CPS accused of ignoring rape against prostitutes

SOON after she was made redundant from her job as a teacher, Toni began a new career - as a prostitute. With her husband unemployed and two young children at home, she joined a call-girl agency in Kent.

Nine months later, on a spring night in 1991, she drove to the home of a new client. 'He was a bit nervous and shaky,' she says. 'He told me to keep quiet, but that's not unusual because their wives are sometimes asleep in the house.' They agreed a price of pounds 60 for a massage and 'hand relief'.

Toni (not her real name) lay on a bed next to the man, who was in his twenties. 'He immediately sat on top of me and used his knees to pin me down. He tied my hands using slipknots on ropes he had hidden either side. He then got out a knife and said he would kill me if I screamed.'

She says there followed three-and-a-half hours of rape and sexual abuse, during which the man took photographs and continually threatened her life. He eventually released her, but only after taking pictures of her children from her handbag and recording personal details, such as her car registration number. 'He said if I went to the police he would show everyone the photographs of me and he would kill my children.'

Despite the threats, the following morning she contacted the police. 'Once they heard I was a prostitute they weren't interested,' she says. For six months she heard nothing. In that time she gave up prostitution, changed her appearance, and did not leave the house on her own. Then one day the police contacted her. 'They said another prostitute had been raped by the same man and they wanted a full statement from me. They were very supportive and were 100 per cent sure the man would be jailed.' The man was arrested and held in custody.

But Toni heard nothing further. At the end of last year she contacted the police and was told the Crown Prosecution Service had ordered the case to be dropped and the man released.

'Unofficially I was told by the police it was because we were prostitutes - they said if we had been housewives it would have been different. When I heard I felt total disbelief. I relive the rape every day. I felt so alone and dirty.' Toni claims the man has since made threatening telephone calls and she has become introverted, suffers severe mood swings, and is taking Valium.

With the help of the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP), she is launching a private prosecution and expects to issue a summons against the man by October.

The police involved with the case have appealed to the CPS to reconsider their decision, which the CPS says was taken on 'purely evidential grounds'. They have also complained to their assistant chief constable.

The ECP and the pressure group Women Against Rape say Toni's is one of a growing number of cases where the CPS has refused to prosecute for rape because they believe the witness would be considered 'unreliable' and 'unsuitable'. In a recent case the owner of an escort agency in southern England complained to the CPS after it dropped a case involving a rape allegation made by a prostitute. 'It appears that for you rape is not rape if committed on a prostitute,' said the owner in a letter to the CPS.

The CPS replied that the case had not been taken to court because there was insufficient evidence to secure a conviction.

This was also the reason given last month by the CPS for not prosecuting a man who allegedly raped a 43-year-old former prostitute in Poplar, east London.

A police officer involved in the case was reported afterwards as saying: 'Some allegations are blatant inventions. But she rang immediately after the incident and I think she was raped. I don't think she was lying.'

Women Against Rape has received an increasing number of complaints from black and disabled alleged rape victims, whom it believes are being discriminated against. In the past year the London group has dealt with about 25 incidents. Niki Adams, of the ECP, said: 'It seems that how much evidence is needed for a prosecution entirely depends on who you are.'

A CPS spokeswoman denied that prostitutes or any other group were being discriminated against. She said: 'If we have enough evidence and a prosecution is in the public interest we will go ahead.'

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
people'I hated him during those times'
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleMemoir extracts show iconic designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Life and Style
fashionAlexander Furyon London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late on stage in Brixton show
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
people''Women's rights is too often synonymous with man-hating'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam