Sunday 24 September 2017

Police officer faked records to cover up failure to investigate rape and sexual assault claims

Margaret Davis

A FORMER detective who failed to investigate rape and sexual assault cases and faked records to cover his tracks is due to be sentenced today.

Ryan Coleman-Farrow, 30, admitted a string of failures linked to 13 cases, including falsely claiming that a rape victim had dropped charges and falsifying witness statements.



He pleaded guilty to 13 counts of misconduct in a public office at Southwark Crown Court last month.



The charges relate to rape and sexual assault investigations between January 2007 and September 2010 while he was a Detective Constable for the Metropolitan Police.



He admitted entering on the police computer that the Crown Prosecution Service had advised that charges should be dropped in rape cases, when no such instruction had been given.



Coleman-Farrow, from St Leonards-on-Sea, Hastings, East Sussex, also failed to get witness statements and did not send exhibits for analysis.



In one rape case he claimed that forensic tests on exhibits were negative when they had not been carried out. The investigations included 12 complainants and 11 suspects



The Metropolitan Police said that after reviewing the 13 cases, "no additional evidential or judicial opportunities were identified".



Coleman-Farrow's failures came to light when complaints were made by a sex worker called Jaime Perlman.



She claimed she was being stalked by a client in 2009 and was unhappy with the way the officer, who has since been sacked, had handled the harassment claims.



Miss Perlman later took her own life in an apparent suicide pact with another sex worker Riley Lison-Taylor, and no findings were made against Coleman-Farrow in relation to that case.



However, it triggered a probe by police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission into the officer's conduct, which then led to the 13 charges being brought.



IPCC deputy chairwoman Deborah Glass said Coleman-Farrow had let victims down "by his calculated abuse of their trust".



The watchdog said that Coleman-Farrow had made false or misleading crime report entries 32 times, falsified a witness statement and twice claimed he had interviewed a rape suspect without actually doing so.



He also faked suspect accounts on three occasions, falsely claimed to have taken witness statements 15 times and said he had submitted files to the CPS without having done so seven times.



It is understood that Coleman-Farrow's physical condition at the time of the charges will form part of his mitigation when he is sentenced.



The Metropolitan Police said all the cases involved were thoroughly reviewed, and "a small number" were reopened.



Of these, one was reinvestigated by another officer and a man was charged with rape, but later acquitted.



Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan Howe said: "We're disgusted with what that officer was involved in, and I'm sure that the sentence will reflect that.



"People should have confidence in reporting rape and it will be investigated thoroughly. Hopefully we can put this down to an abhorrent individual. The system didn't pick him up, and we've tightened those systems since to make sure we do.



"Even with the best of systems, sometimes if someone's prepared to be dishonest in the system it can be rather difficult to pick that up."



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