A British teenager accused of lying that she was gang raped in Cyprus secretly sent text messages to her mother saying she was in danger when police ‘turned against her’, a court heard.
The 19-year-old woman, who cannot be identified, denies causing public mischief by allegedly lying about being attacked in an Ayia Napa hotel room on July 17.
She told Famagusta District Court in Paralimni on Tuesday how she begged her mother to call the British High Commission after detectives put pressure on her sign a ‘false confession’ that she had invented being gang raped.
Giving evidence, the teenager revealed how she feared her friends would be arrested when police accused her of being part of a conspiracy to frame a group of 12 Israeli boys.
The British teenager (pictured middle) who accused 12 Israelis of sexual assault pictured at Famagusta District Court in Cyprus on Tuesday
She said: ‘I text my mum; “ASAP I NEED HELP ASAP.” I told her to call the British High Commission and the British police in Cyprus. I said: “Mum please I could be taken away at any point!”‘
The woman said she had been asked to provide an ‘additional statement’ to her allegation that she had been gang raped ten days earlier.
But she was taken to a different police station and interrogated for eight hours by officers she said had ‘turned against her’.
She said: ‘They became aggressive. After sometime [investigating officer] Marios Christou said he had all these videos of the night. He said they [showed] me having consensual group sex.
The young woman reportedly plans to tell a judge that police coerced her into retracting her statement
‘I stood up and said; “Where did all that come from? It’s not true!” He said it was very clear that it was not rape. He said; “you have made this up.” I said I have not made this up I have been raped.’
The teenager said she had repeatedly asked for a lawyer but the Cypriot police said she was not entitled to one.
‘I asked; “Why have you declined me a lawyer?”,’ she said. ‘They told me I did not have the right to a lawyer. It was going t*** up!
‘I realized at this point that the police were completely against me.’
The Briton told the court how she had secretly texted her mother and her friends – using iMessage and WhatsApp – while holding her phone under the table.
‘I was frantically trying to tell them what was going on,’ she said. ‘I was doing this under the table as they could not see my phone.’
She added that officers had threatened to arrest her friends for conspiring together to make the allegations against the 12 Israeli boys.
The British teenager leaves the Famagusta District Court in Paralimni in eastern Cyprus in July
The woman said she had initially refused to sign a confession that she had invented the gang rape but eventually signed a statement just before 3am after eight hours of interrogation.
‘I was really scared. I did not think I would leave the police station without signing that statement’, she said.
Her lawyer Ritza Pekri asked: ‘When you said you were raped did you tell the truth?
She replied: ‘Yes.’
Earlier on Tuesday, a projector was brought into Famagusta District Court as prosecutor Adamos Demosthenous asked to play a video of the teenager found on some of the 11 phones confiscated from members of the Israeli group.
He asked to play the clip in closed court as he questioned phone expert Spyros Nicolau, but Ritsa Pekri, defending, objected, saying it would be dangerous for the woman’s psychological health if it was played in front of her.
The video, timed at 02.56am on July 17 is said to have shown the woman involved in sexual activity with one man as others tried to enter the room.
The woman has been supported by her parents throughout her ordeal and her case has been taken up by British campaigning group Justice Abroad, who have appointed a British legal team led by Lewis Power QC to represent her.
Speaking at Famagusta District Court on Tuesday, investigating police officer Marios Christou had told the court how the British teenager had ‘cried rape’ because she was filmed having consensual sex and felt humiliated.
The Israeli boys were criticised for their jubilant celebrations with friends and family when they arrived back in Israel (above)
The officer said he had ‘suspicions’ about the 19-year-old’s claims as her statements were riddled with ‘inconsistencies’.
He said he asked the teenager for an additional statement ten days after she had contacted the police when he was shown new evidence which allegedly dismissed her claim.
He told the court: ‘I told her I had serious suspicions that her allegation for the group rape was false. Then she said: “Because they were videoing me and I felt exposed and insulted.”‘
The officer told the court the teenager had refused to accept her legal rights which included being represented by a lawyer during the interrogation.
He said: ‘She told me her mother was a lawyer and that she wasn’t going to sign anything. She screwed up the piece of paper and threw it at me.’
Speaking outside court, the woman’s lawyer Michael Polak claimed the text message proved his client was telling the truth.
Mr Polak said: ‘The best evidence of what happened at the police station on the night of July 27, 2019 is in the text messages from the night, which clearly show pressure was placed on her from all different fronts.’
The teenager spent four-and-a-half weeks in prison before she was granted bail at the end of August, but cannot leave the island, which is popular with British holidaymakers.
She arrived at the court today dressed in black and wearing a baseball cap and a scarf to cover her face.
Speaking on Monday, her mother said: ‘It’s been an unpredictable struggle since the incident.
‘It seems as if all of our lives have been set aside and paused as everyone continues to move around us.’
The teenager claims she was forced to sign a confession fabricated by police after she was denied a lawyer and held at the police station for eight hours.
She maintains she was attacked by up to 12 Israeli men, aged between 15 and 18, who had planned an ‘orgy’.
One of dozens of text message sent between the men in the lead up to the alleged attack said: ‘She’s going to get f***** tonight’.
The Israeli teenagers, who had been on holiday before starting their national military service, were arrested in July and accused of rape. They were released a week later.
They all denied attacking the young Briton, who was said to have met one of the group at a pool party and agreed to have sex with him.
Her family, who said the teenager has been diagnosed with PTSD, has set up a crowdfunding page asking for money for legal costs, which has raised more than £36,000.
In an online post, the family said: ‘We live in hope that it will be resolved in this time. Thanks to all of you for making this possible’.
The case continues.