De Menezes family furious over Met 'sex smear' on son

Sophie Goodchild,Chief Reporter
Sunday 12 March 2006 01:00

Scotland Yard was at the centre of a new row over the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes following allegations that he was the suspect in a rape case.

It has emerged that the 27-year-old electrician, gunned down by armed officers at Stockwell Tube station, is being linked with a sex attack in London.

Officers have contacted lawyers acting for the dead man's family to ask for permission to examine DNA samples taken after his death. These are understood to be held by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) which has been investigating the shooting and has also been contacted by the Metropolitan Police.

The inquiry is in response to a call, more than six months after the Brazilian's death, from a rape victim who named Mr de Menezes as her attacker.

Sources close to his family have reacted with fury to the allegations. They accuse the Metropolitan police of deliberately leaking the details of the rape inquiry in an attempt to deflect attention from the investigation into the shooting of Mr de Menezes, who was mistaken for a terrorist by armed officers.

His relatives are already pursuing a complaint against Sir Ian Blair, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police who, they allege, misled the public in the wake of the shooting.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is also considering whether to bring charges against the officers involved in the death of Mr de Menezes.

A source told The Independent on Sunday: "This is a deliberate attempt to deflect the blame. First [the police] tried to say he was a terrorist and now this... he is no longer here to defend himself."

Last night, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that inquiries were continuing into the alleged rape, which happened in the West End of London.

The Met said in a statement: "The victim of a rape in the West End more than three years ago contacted us earlier this year and provided the name of a suspect. The name was given as that of Jean Charles de Menezes... and inquiries are continuing."

Mr de Menezes was shot dead by armed officers on 22 July, the day after the failed copycat bombings on the London Underground. Eyewitness accounts of the shooting initially suggested that the Brazilian electrician was a suicide bomber - an impression the police did not try to alter.

Surveillance officers searching for Hussein Osman, who was allegedly involved in the failed bombings, had been staking out the flats in Tulse Hill from which Mr de Menezes emerged.

The Independent on Sunday last month revealed that the IPCC report alleges police tried to fake evidence relating to the killing by altering the police log. According to the report an officer outside the flats wrongly identified Mr de Menezesas Osman and firearms officers were dispatched to stop him. Once it was known an innocent man had been killed, the log was altered so that instead of reading "it was Osman", it read "it was not Osman".