Eleanor de Freitas: DPP defends prosecution of woman over false rape claim

Ms de Freitas took her own life three days before she was due to stand trial

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The Independent Online

A decision to pursue a criminal case against a woman accused of making a false rape claim who committed suicide days before her trial was “correct”, the country’s top prosecutor has insisted.

Eleanor de Freitas, 22, took her own life in April this year, three days before her trial for perverting the course of justice was to start at Southwark Crown Court in London.

Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, carried out an examination into the case of Ms De Freitas, who had bipolar disorder and had been sectioned in a mental-health unit in the past.

Ms Saunders said: “Having considered the detail and the issues raised by the family, I am satisfied the decision making in this case was correct and that it was made in accordance with our policies and guidance.”

The Metropolitan Police received an allegation of rape from Ms De Freitas in January last year but the case was dropped after a man was arrested and released due to a lack of sufficient evidence. Her alleged attacker initiated a private prosecution against her. The case was later referred to the Crown Prosecution Service, which decided to continue with proceedings.

“Cases of perverting the course of justice in relation to an alleged false rape claim are rare, but where there is sufficient evidence to show a false claim may have been made, the potential harm to those affected must be very carefully considered and an appropriate decision made,” Ms Saunders said in a statement.

The DPP statement in full can be found at http://www.cps.gov.uk/news/latest_news/eleanor_de_freitas/

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