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Thursday 28 August 2014

MP urges action on Barbados rapes

Published 23/03/2013 | 13:51

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The Foreign Office said it had raised the case of two rapes with authorities in Barbados

An MP has urged the Government to declare Barbados unsafe for British women until local police properly investigate the rape of two women.

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Dr Rachel Turner, 30, from Hertfordshire, and 63-year-old Diane Davies, from Anglesey, were raped within days of each other in 2010. They waived anonymity to help free a man who police accused of being the perpetrator, despite an apparent lack of evidence.

Tory backbencher Stephen McPartland, Dr Turner's MP, told the BBC: "I firmly believe that Barbados is not a safe place for British women to travel to as there is a rapist on the loose. The police have failed to reopen the case and they have failed to get Rachel justice.

"The Foreign Office should update their travel advice and make it clear that Barbados is not a safe place to travel and warn British tourists to stay away. Maybe then the authorities in Barbados will make the police reopen the case and find this rapist."

He insisted the Barbados authorities needed "to apologise to Rachel publicly, reopen the case and find the rapist".

Mr McPartland said the Foreign Office minister with responsibility for the Caribbean Mark Simmonds had told him he would be raising the issue with the Barbados government when he visited the country later in the year.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We are appalled by the horrific rape ordeal that Dr Turner and Ms Davies went through.

"We take such crimes against British citizens extremely seriously. We have raised these concerns at the most senior levels within the Barbados authorities, including the Commissioner of Police, and the Attorney-General.

"We updated our travel advice at the time of the rape to warn British nationals that attacks had taken place in the area. The majority of visitors to Barbados enjoy a trouble free visit.

"Our travel advice currently highlights that incidents of violent crime and serious attacks on foreign visitors do happen. It recommends the necessary safety measures British nationals should take. People should be vigilant and not expose themselves to danger where possible."

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