Cyprus rape case: British teenager vows to clear her name after arriving home

Legal team challenging conviction and considering taking case to European Court of Human Rights

Protesters gather at High Consulate of Cyprus in support of British woman accused of falsely reporting rape in Ayia Napa

A British teenager found guilty of lying about being gang-raped in Cyprus has arrived back in the UK and said she will fight to clear her name.

The 19-year-old was given a four-month jail term, suspended for three years, on Tuesday by a judge who said he was giving her a “second chance”.

She hugged her family and legal team and left Famagusta District Court, in Paralimni, weeping and with her head in her hands after she was sentenced for public mischief.

Her mother shouted: “She's coming home” to supporters outside before flying with her daughter to Heathrow Airport on Tuesday night.

Lewis Power QC, the teenager's lawyer, said her legal team would be challenging her conviction and were prepared to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

The young woman, from Derbyshire, told the Sun: “I am innocent and the fight will go on to clear my name.

“It's been a nightmare for me, Mum and everyone. Now I just want to be with my friends and family.

“What kept me going was my family and the amazing support of my friends and all other people who got in contact to say they believed me.”

The teenager was stuck on the Mediterranean island for almost five months after claiming she had been raped by up to 12 Israeli tourists in a hotel room in the town of Ayia Napa on 17 July.

She was charged and spent about a month in prison before being granted bail in August.

The dozen Israelis, aged between 15 and 20, were arrested over the incident and freed after she signed a retraction statement 10 days later.

Demonstrators hold placards calling for a boycott on Cyprus as they protest in London

But she maintains she had consensual sex with one of the Israelis before he pinned her down and raped her with others – a claim all of them deny.

The woman said she had been forced to change her account under pressure from Cypriot police following hours of questioning alone and without legal representation.

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab said he had raised concerns over her treatment with the Cypriot authorities after the conviction provoked outrage in both Cyprus and the UK.

After the sentencing, he said: “We will be following up on some of the issues in relation to the case. I spoke to the Cypriot foreign minister about that.”

The teenager's family had raised fears that she would suffer permanent damage to her mental health if she was sent to prison, having been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Judge Michalis Papathanasiou told the court he would not be jailing her despite insisting that all the evidence suggested she was guilty.

Sentencing her, he told the packed courtroom: “Her psychological state, her youth, that she has been away from her family, her friends and academic studies this year ... this has led me to decide to give her a second chance and suspend the sentence for three years.”

Press Association

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in