British women force court to drop case against Barbadian man accused of raping them

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The Independent US

Two British women who defended a man falsely accused of raping them said they hoped the police would catch the real attacker as they won their battle to have the case against him dropped.

Diane Davies, 63, was violently attacked while holidaying in Barbados in 2010, in the same spot where two days earlier another British woman, Rachel Turner, had also been raped.

When 47-year-old Barbadian Derick Crawford was charged with the double rape both women were convinced the police had the wrong man. After their protestations were ignored, they took the rare step of waiving a sex attack victim's automatic right to anonymity to make their objection public, believing their real rapist was still at large.

Today, after a brief hearing before Holetown magistrates, the case was dismissed against Mr Crawford after Dr Turner told the court she did not want it to proceed.

Last night, the 30-year-old, a university researcher on the island, said she was relieved but was planning a press conference with Andrew Pilgrim, president of the Barbados Bar Association, to urge the police to re-open the investigation.

"Both cases have been dismissed but we still have lots of questions for the police. They have not explained whether they are going to look for someone else or the whole thing has been dismissed," she said. "I am very relieved but it is still frustrating."

Dr Turner, from Hertfordshire, said she had little hope the real rapist would be caught adding: "They have made such a mess of it. I think it is very unlikely that they could successfully convict someone."

Mr Pilgrim said he would be seeking compensation for Mr Crawford, adding: "I am delighted with the result, but disappointed it has taken so long."

Dr Turner and Mrs Davies, from Anglesey, were supported by Hilary Heath, 66, a renowned Seventies actress who endured a similar rape while working for a charity on the Caribbean island eight years ago. She agreed to fund Mr Crawford's defence, fearing the island was not warning women about the danger of sex attacks.

Police Commissioner Darwin Dottin responded: "The Royal Barbados Police Force has an excellent reputation in the law enforcement community and is highly regarded. This is not to say that we never make mistakes. On the contrary, on such occasions, it is our policy to admit our failings.

"Almost one million visitors come to Barbados each year. The overwhelming number of these visits are incident-free. In fact the rate of victimisation is negligible."