Southend: Specialist detective commended for innovative investigation
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A specialist detective whose work led to the jailing of a woman who made a series of false rape allegations has been commended by Essex Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington.
Detective Inspector James Holmes had only been in post with the South Adult Sexual Abuse Investigation Team for a month when the first reports came into us in January 2021.
By May of that year, the woman’s allegations against two men led to our officers carrying out 60 investigations. But, as James and his team progressed their enquiries, they found that technical data showed the men weren’t in the area at the times the woman alleged the assaults had taken place.
As well as dealing with what had turned into an incredibly complex case and managing the rest of the team’s investigative workload, James suggested one of the men have a GPS tracking tag fitted to his ankle – this would alert police if it was removed or destroyed.
When the woman made another allegation against the man, analysis of the tag’s data again showed he was not in the area.
James was commended for the professionalism, innovation and impartiality he showed during the investigation, which ultimately ensured that the falsely-accused men were protected while their accuser received a custodial sentence.
Praising the work of his team, James says it’s nice to be recognised for what was a very challenging investigation involving three vulnerable people who all needed to be safeguarded. He explains:
“Our objective was to get her the help she needed but the only avenue open to us was criminal justice and court because she wouldn’t engage with us or the Crown Prosecution Service. Taking her to court was the last resort.”
Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington says:
“This was an extremely complex case but James’ innovative thinking, which led to one of the accused men agreeing to wear a tag during the investigation, was key to disproving his accuser’s claims. “We work hard in Essex to keep people safe and our Adult Sexual Abuse Investigation Teams are dedicated specialists who conduct their investigations with compassion and empathy. “We take every report of rape and serious sexual offences seriously and our starting point is always to believe the victim. “But it is vital for us, as police officers, to remember that people are innocent until proven guilty. If the evidence points a different way, it is our duty to follow it, as was the case in this investigation. “The woman made 60 allegations which took up a huge amount of police time, which could have been devoted to helping, and investigating the claims of, genuine victims. “I hope this case does not discourage any victim of rape and other sexual assaults from reporting offences to us and seeking help. You will be believed, we will support you and we will investigate.”
The woman was jailed for five years and one month in September 2022 after admitting ten counts of perverting the course of justice.
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