British 19-year-old found guilty of lying about being gang raped in Cyprus

Chris Parsons
News Editor

A British teenager has been found guilty of lying about being gang raped in Cyprus.

The woman, 19, was convicted of a single count of public mischief at Famagusta District Court in Paralimni on Monday.

She was accused of falsely claiming she was attacked by up to 12 Israeli tourists in an Ayia Napa hotel on 17 July before making a retraction statement 10 days later.

Judge Michalis Papathanasiou, who will sentence her on January 7, told the court: “The defendant gave police a false rape claim, while having full knowledge that this was a lie.

The 19-year-old British woman, centre, pictured in Paralimni, Cyprus, in July, was convicted on Monday morning. (PA)
The British teen pictured outside Larnaca District Court in Cyprus last month. (Getty)

“During her testimony, the defendant did not make a good impression, she did not tell the truth, and tried to mislead the court.”

He said: “There was no rape, or violence, and police had carried out a thorough investigation making all necessary arrests.”

The judge said his decision was backed up by video evidence showing her having consensual sex.

The teenager nodded her head slightly as she was found guilty but showed no other emotion.

She claimed in court that she was raped but pressured into changing her account by Cypriot police.

The teenager arrives at the court on Monday. (Iakovos Hatzistavrou/AFP via Getty Images)
Women's rights activists protest at the court on Monday in support of the British 19-year-old. (Iakovos Hatzistavrou/AFP via Getty Images)

Protesters outside court claimed the woman, who cannot be identified, did not have a fair trial.

Michael Polak, a lawyer from Justice Abroad, which is assisting the teenager, said: “Although the defence team is very disappointed with the decision of the court, having put a lot of effort into the lengthy trial process and after bringing expert evidence before the court, we are not surprised by the result given the frequent refusal during the trial of the judge to consider evidence which supported the fact that the teenager had been raped.

“Shutting down questioning from our Cypriot advocates and the production of evidence into the trial on a handful of occasions the judge stridently stated ‘this is not a rape case, I will not consider whether she was raped or not’.”

Speaking outside court, protester Argentoula Ioannou from the Network Against Violence Against Women said: “I think the verdict was wrong because it was decided on the wrong basis.

“That is why the judge demanded in the process of the trial that he didn’t want to hear anything of the rape.

“So the allegations of the girl were completely excluded from this trial.”

Two of the Israeli tourists who were accused of raping a the British teen in July. (Getty)

The teenager spent more than a month in prison before she was granted bail at the end of August, but has not been allowed to leave the island.

She could face up to a year in jail and a 1,700 euro (£1,500) fine when she is sentenced but her lawyers have asked for a suspended sentence.

She was a week into a working holiday before she was due to start university when she alleged she was raped by the group of young Israeli men.

The 12 Israelis arrested over the alleged attack returned home after they were released.