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Support Rhiannon Brooker

-          Join CADV and other women’s rights campaigners to show support to Rhiannon Brooker and all victims of rape and violence against women on 26 June, 2 pm, Bristol Crown court 


Rhiannon Brooker, a mother from Bristol, was recently convicted of perverting the course of justice after reporting that she had suffered rape and assault at the hands of her former partner. Campaign Against Domestic Violence considers this case concerning, and symptomatic of a judicial system which routinely fails victims of rape. In this case, like many others the police ploughed more resources into investigating a reported victim of rape than the alleged perpetrator. We would ask our supporters to join us on 26 June when Rhiannon who is facing up to 6 years in prison is due to be sentenced.


Some more information on the case can be found below:


·         Ms Brooker went to the police as the victim of domestic abuse and rape by her then partner, Paul Fensome.


·         Seeing the physical evidence of what he had done to her, they arrested Fensome and charged him immediately. He was incarcerated for 33 days until the CPS decided that there was not enough evidence to proceed with the prosecution.  


·         When Fensome was released, the CPS decided to turn their attentions to Ms Brooker.  While dealing with the pain and anguish of learning that her alleged attacker had been freed, and that her case would never go to trial, suddenly she was being investigated.


·         The investigation dragged on for more than two years (compared with less than 6 months investigating Fensome), during which time every aspect of Rhiannon’s life was questioned.  The Avon and Somerset Police investigated her private life, her medical records, her bank recon rds, her old school records, University records, interrogated and threatened her family, friends and acquaintances and ultimately tried to have her child taken away from her by saying she was an unfit mother. Thankfully Social Services saw sense and upon further investigation found nothing to support the police allegations.  


·         Rhiannon was subjected to a shocking dawn-raid style arrest early one morning with approximately ten police raiding her mother's house. The police took her, her diaries and many other belongings, to a police station where she was locked in a cell for 12 hours and given a lawyer. Having been subjected to excessive intense questioning already and in a state of shock due the unfathomable and unnecessarily traumatic arrest, Rhiannon, who was in a cell solely because she had reported an attack, said she wanted to end the investigation.  She made a decision that I think many of us would have done, she retracted her statement on the understanding it would all to go away so she could get on with her life.


·         The lawyer assigned to Rhiannon said that this would mean pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice as she’d be viewed as having given a false allegation, however given her situation, it would be understood and she would just be given a caution.   This couldn’t have been further from the truth. The CPS and police pursued Rhiannon mercilessly, bringing her to the situation she finds herself in today.  She is the victim of rape, domestic abuse and now, an outrageous police investigation that makes her the victim of a broken justice system.


·         The lawyer said he would write a new statement for her claiming it was all untrue and she could sign it.  The pressure to end at least some of the pain was too much and this vulnerable, depressed, scared woman signed that she was guilty.  We have since learnt that Vicky Cook, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for the CPS is quoted as saying, “the brief was to put the questions to the victim and push them until she broke down and made an admission so she could be arrested for Perverting the Course of Justice”


·         In their case the prosecution relied heavily on cell sites which raised some inaccuracies in dates, which was unsurprising given the relationship had lasted for several years, and is very typical in domestic abuse cases. Research has shown time after time that memories  can be affected by trauma and that it is not uncommon for women to return to abusive partners yet the prosecution relied on abuse stereotypes and rape myths throughout their case.


·         Women Against Rape have also supported Rhiannon since her arrest, and continue to support her and a number of other women who are being harassed by the police after reporting rape. 






CADV, PO Box 2371, London, E1 5NQ, United Kingdom   email: Tel: 020 8520 5881