Investigation follows tragic death of prosecuted rape complainant

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The Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders is personally investigating the case of a woman who was prosecuted over an alleged false rape claim and then went on to kill herself.

Ms Saunders said she was “very saddened” by the tragic death of 23-year-old Eleanor de Freitas, and said she has asked those who worked on the case for a “full explanation”. She described the case the young woman was involved in before her death as “one of the most difficult I have seen”.

A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police said the force received an allegation of rape in south west London on January 4 2013. She added: “The allegation was investigated by specialist officers from the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command.

“One man was arrested but subsequently released with no further action due to lack of evidence, and the case was closed.”

Meanwhile, Ms de Freitas’s father David has told the Guardian newspaper his daughter was “a vulnerable young woman, diagnosed with bipolar, who made a complaint of rape as a result of which she herself became the subject of legal proceedings”.

He added: “This was despite the fact the police did not believe there to be a case against her.

“There are very serious implications for the reporting of rape cases if victims fear that they may themselves end up the subject of a prosecution if their evidence is in any way inconsistent.

“It is of the utmost importance that the CPS consider very carefully whether such cases are in the public interest.”

He said that “the system of fairness in this country has let me down terribly”, adding that something needed to be done so that this can never happen again.

An inquest into the 23-year-old’s death was adjourned yesterday. Senior coroner of west London Chinyere Inyama said that the inquest was now adjourned until “a date to be fixed”.