RAPE CLAIM A ‘LIVING HELL’

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A Derry man who’s been told he won’t be prosecuted after a rape allegation against him has spoken of the “living hell” he and his family have been through.

The man, who asked to remain anonymous, was accused of raping the woman while driving her home in a taxi in the early months of last year.

But last month he received a letter - seen by the ‘Journal’ - from the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) informing him that, having considered the evidence, it has decided not to prosecute him.

However the man said the PPS decision “brings neither me nor my family any satisfaction or closure”.

“This is a small town and mud sticks,” he told the ‘Journal’. “I’ve declared my innocence and co-operated with the police from the day and hour that these disgusting allegations were made against me and, yet, my life, and more importantly, that of my family, has been wrecked.

“The past eight months have been an absolute living hell. The PPS hasn’t said why I’m not being prosecuted.”

He added; “I want the PPS or the police to tell me why the case was dropped. Until I find out the reason behind their decision not to prosecute, it’s very difficult for me and my family to get on with our lives. My life has stopped.”

The man said; “We’ll try to get on with our lives as best we can for the sake of our family but, to be honest, things will never be the same again. We’ve been through far too much.”

The man’s wife said the past eight months have been a “nightmare.”

“You can’t imagine how it feels to wake up every morning with this cloud hanging over you... just hoping and praying for the truth to emerge.”

She added she wanted to know why the case was dropped.

“We’ve been through absolute hell for the past eight months and, then, to receive a four line letter from the PPS telling us that it’s decided not to proceed with a prosecution, well, it just isn’t good enough.”

She suggested that cameras should be installed in all taxis.

“This could go a very long way to safeguarding the interests of both drivers and passengers and hopefully prevent false allegations being made against either,” she said.

“People need to remember that there are two sides to every story. Yes, there are people out there who have been sexually assaulted and, believe me, my heart goes out to them. But we shouldn’t forget that there are also people out there who have been wrongly accused of horrible crimes. They and their families go through pain and agony but, more often than not, they are just forgotten about. Still their lives have been ruined.”