Cyprus rape case: British teenager says up to 12 Israeli tourists attacked her like ‘pack of wolves’

‘The doctors prescribe me drugs, I take them in the morning, at lunch and finally at night,’ teen says in prison diary

Maya Oppenheim
Women's Correspondent
Monday 27 January 2020 16:04 GMT
Teenager convicted in Cyprus over gang rape claim can return home

A British teenager found guilty of lying about being gang-raped in Cyprus said the group of up to 12 Israeli tourists who she claimed attacked her behaved like a “pack of wolves”.

The 19-year-old, who was convicted after alleging she was raped by a group of young men at a hotel in the party resort of Ayia Napa in July, was jailed for four and a half weeks in a prison, criticised for overcrowding and degrading treatment, in the capital Nicosia.

The young woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, says she was forced to sign a confession withdrawing the rape complaint. She was handed a four-month suspended jail sentence earlier in January after being convicted for public mischief.

In her first lengthy interview since coming back to the UK earlier in the month, the teenager told The Sun she lost 16kg (2st 7lb) and prison doctors gave her Xanax, a highly addictive psychoactive drug prescribed for anxiety, which made her hallucinate.

“Most prisoners were drugged. It seemed they thought that was easier. It gave me horribly vivid dreams, hallucinations,” she said.

She said she was unaware how many of young men raped her due to the incident being so manic – adding that she thought she was going to die during the ordeal.

The young woman, who is from Derbyshire, said: “They were lining up, excited, talking and shouting in Hebrew. I was trying to fight them off but I just couldn’t.

“They were like a pack of animals – a pack of wolves.”

The 12 men and boys, all aged between 15 and 20, were arrested but later freed after she signed a statement withdrawing her claim 10 days later.

But the young woman’s lawyers have said she was raped and her retraction should not be used as evidence because investigators threatened both her and her friends with arrest, and police questioned her for eight hours with no legal representation.

“I have nightmares every night, I dream I’m being raped again,” she wrote in extracts from a prison diary.

“The doctors prescribe me drugs, I take them in the morning, at lunch and finally at night.”

The young woman, who had been facing up to a year in jail, has submitted an appeal against her conviction to the Supreme Court in Cyprus.

Her mother said her daughter was experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder and had been sleeping 20 hours a day due to a condition called hypersomnia.

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