British teenager on trial for 'lying' about Ayia Napa gang rape says police forced her to retract claim as she frantically texted her mother: 'I need help ASAP'
- Teenager had initially claimed she was attacked by 12 Israelis in Ayia Napa in July
- She is charged with causing public mischief by 'falsely claiming she was raped'
- Prosecutor sought to show video of her engaged in sexual activity with one man
- Woman told court how she begged her mother to call British High Commission
- Her mother said on Monday that 'our lives have been set aside' since the incident
A British teenager accused of lying that she was gang raped in Cyprus has claimed police forced her to withdraw her complaint as she secretly sent text messages to her mother that she was in danger, a court heard.
The 19-year-old, who MailOnline has chosen not to identify, denies causing public mischief by allegedly lying about being attacked by 12 Israeli men in an Ayia Napa hotel room on July 17.
She told Famagusta District Court in Paralimni on Tuesday how she begged her mother to call the British High Commission after detectives put pressure on her to sign a 'false confession' saying she had invented being gang raped.
Giving evidence, the teenager revealed she feared her friends would be arrested when police accused her of being part of a conspiracy to frame a group of Israelis.
The British teenager (pictured middle) who accused 12 Israelis of sexual assault pictured at Famagusta District Court in Cyprus on Tuesday
She said: 'I text my mum; "ASAP I NEED HELP ASAP." I told her to call the British High Commission and the British police in Cyprus. I said: "Mum please I could be taken away at any point!"'
The teenager said she was asked to provide an 'additional statement' to her allegation that she had been gang raped ten days earlier, but was instead interrogated for eight hours by officers who had 'turned against her'.
The teenager said Cypriot investigators, led by Detective Sergeant Marios Christou, told her that police had videos which showed she had consensual group sex.
Texts sent between the British teenager and a friend as she was questioned by police
Girl: Bad things with police
Girl: They think it's a conspiracy and they threatened an international arrest warrant to arrest you all for it including [name] who worked at Gallianos.
Friend: WTFFFFF. What the hell
Girl: I think they are going to arrest me
Don't message anything regarding situation on iMessage.
Friend: Are you serious?
Girl: Deadly [name] don't answer your phone they've tried telling me you'ave told me to do this.
It's going t*** up its crazy.
They wouldn't let me talk to anyone.
I said I had a right to a lawyer here they said not in Cyprus.
Maybe in the UK but not in Cyprus.
They've honestly made me sing false statements.
Friend: What's happening now? Like what's your mum said??
And how do you know all this?
Girl: My mum's at the hotel they've brought me alone I don't know what's happening I've managed to grab my phone now.
But I have no idea what's happening.
Friend: Where are you??
Girl: in the police station Paralimni.
I think they're going to do something to [name] too.
Friend: What do they actually want at this time? [12.30 am].
Girl: Still in the police station, a lot more officers have turned up now.
Friend: Why are you there?
Friend: Who took you there?
Girl: They're not letting me go.
The police officers came and got me from the hotel [Detective Sergeant] Marios [Christou] and [Detective Constable Andreas] Nicoletta [Nicolettis].
Friend: Your mom says don't say anything.
Girl: [Police liaison officer] Georgia is taking time off apparently.
Friend: Say no comment.
'I asked to see the videos because I didn't know they existed,' she said. 'He said that wasn't possible, but he had studied them and it was very clear there was no rape.'
The woman said she was 'crying' because she 'didn't understand what was going on' and, when she asserted her right to a lawyer, was told: 'Maybe in the UK, not here.'
'He threatened to arrest [my friend] and take her for conspiracy, and he said that, because of all these so-called videos, he was going to arrest me If I didn't say that I had lied and that I would not see my mum until I was in handcuffs in a court,' she said.
'I stood up and said; "Where did all that come from? It's not true!" He said it was very clear that it was not rape. He said; "you have made this up." I said I have not made this up I have been raped.'
The Briton told the court how she had secretly texted her mother and her friends while holding her phone under the table.
The court was read a string of text and Snapchat messages the woman sent as she hid her phone from police.
'I was frantically typing, trying to tell them what was going on,' she said. 'I realised at this point the police were completely against me'.
A Snapchat message to her friend said: 'They've honestly made me sign false statements', while another read: 'I don't even know I'm actually scared being here.'
The teenager added that officers had threatened to arrest her friends for conspiring together to make the allegations against the 12 Israeli boys.
She said she had initially refused to sign a confession that she had invented the gang rape but eventually signed a statement just before 2am after eight hours of interrogation.
'I was really scared. I did not think I would leave the police station without signing that statement', she said.
Her lawyer Ritza Pekri asked: 'When you said you were raped did you tell the truth?'
The woman replied: 'Yes.'
Earlier on Tuesday, a projector was brought into Famagusta District Court as prosecutor Adamos Demosthenous asked to play a video of the teenager found on some of the 11 phones confiscated from members of the Israeli group.
He asked to play the clip in closed court as he questioned phone expert Spyros Nicolau, but Pekri, defending, objected, saying it would be dangerous for the woman's psychological health if it was played in front of her.
The video, timed at 2.56am on July 17, is said to have shown the woman involved in sexual activity with one man as others tried to enter the room before being told to go away.
The woman has been supported by her parents throughout her ordeal and her case has been taken up by British campaigning group Justice Abroad, who have appointed a British legal team led by Lewis Power QC to represent her.
The young woman reportedly plans to tell a judge that police coerced her into retracting her statement
Speaking at Famagusta District Court on Tuesday, investigating police officer Christou told the court how the British teenager had 'cried rape' because she was filmed having consensual sex and felt humiliated.
The officer denied pressuring her and said he began to suspect that she had lied about being raped after noticing inconsistencies between her first and second statements.
He said he asked the teenager for an additional statement ten days after she had contacted the police when he was shown new evidence which allegedly dismissed her claim.
He told the court: 'I told her I had serious suspicions that her allegation for the group rape was false. Then she said: "Because they were videoing me and I felt exposed and insulted."'
The officer told the court the teenager had refused to accept her legal rights which included being represented by a lawyer during the interrogation.
He said: 'She told me her mother was a lawyer and that she wasn't going to sign anything. She screwed up the piece of paper and threw it at me.'
Speaking outside court, the woman's lawyer Michael Polak claimed the text message proved his client was telling the truth.
Mr Polak said: 'The best evidence of what happened at the police station on the night of July 27, 2019 is in the text messages from the night, which clearly show pressure was placed on her from all different fronts.'
The British teenager leaves the Famagusta District Court in Paralimni in eastern Cyprus in July
The teenager spent four-and-a-half weeks in prison before she was granted bail at the end of August, but cannot leave the island, which is popular with British holidaymakers.
She could face up to a year in jail and a 1,700 euro (about £1,500) fine if she is found guilty.
She arrived at the court on Tuesday dressed in black and wearing a baseball cap and a scarf to cover her face.
Speaking on Monday, her mother said: 'It's been an unpredictable struggle since the incident.
'It seems as if all of our lives have been set aside and paused as everyone continues to move around us.'
The teenager claims she was forced to sign a confession fabricated by police after she was denied a lawyer and held at the police station for eight hours.
She maintains she was attacked by up to 12 Israeli men, aged between 15 and 18, who had planned an 'orgy'.
The Israeli boys were criticised for their jubilant celebrations with friends and family when they arrived back in Israel (above)
One of dozens of text message sent between the men in the lead up to the alleged attack said: 'She's going to get f***** tonight'.
The Israeli teenagers, who had been on holiday before starting their national military service, were arrested in July and accused of rape. They were released a week later.
They all denied attacking the young Briton, who was said to have met one of the group at a pool party and agreed to have sex with him.
The woman's family, who said the teenager has been diagnosed with PTSD, has set up a crowdfunding page asking for money for legal costs, which has raised more than £36,000.
In an online post, the family said: 'We live in hope that it will be resolved in this time. Thanks to all of you for making this possible'.
The trial continues on Wednesday.
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