Barbados rape victim from Letchworth says innocent man charged

AN ACADEMIC who grew up in Letchworth GC has said she is “absolutely convinced” the man charged with raping her on a Carribean island is innocent.

Dr Rachel Turner was attacked while walking along a beach path in Barbados in October 2010.

Now the former Grange Junior and Norton secondary school pupil has met the man charged with raping her but is certain he did not commit the crime.

Barbadian Derick Crawford, 47, has been charged with the attack, and raping another woman in the same area of Holetown St James two days later.

Dr Turner, who confirmed to the Comet she has waived her right to anonymity, met Mr Crawford of Lakes Close in Eden Lodge at a court hearing on the West Indian island last week.

The 30-year-old told the BBC: “I spoke to him and I am absolutely convinced that he is not the man who raped me.

“The person who attacked me was in their early 30s. This person (Mr Crawford) was 47.”

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Dr Turner moved away from Letchworth GC when she went to university and has been living in Barbados for two years, where she holds a research post at the University of the West Indies.

She added: “I think the Barbados police are ignoring a problem until it goes away. I’m not prepared to watch them sweep it under the carpet.

“I don’t want them to get away with it and the person who committed these crimes is still free and, of course, he might rape again.”

The Royal Barbados Police force’s commissioner Darwin Dottin said in a statement: “The team of investigators who were tasked with investigating these assaults are firmly of the view that the evidence strongly supports the decision to arrest and charge Mr Crawford.

“The Royal Barbados Police Force has an excellent reputation in the law enforcement community and is highly regarded. “This is not to say that we never make mistakes. On the contrary, on such occasions, it is our policy to admit our failings.

“To suggest that we put the reputation of our country before the welfare and comfort of our visitors is utterly wrong.

“Almost one million visitors come to Barbados each year. The overwhelming number of these visits are incident free.”

Dr Turner was not able to give evidence before magistrates at the preliminary hearing on Friday as the case was adjourned but hopes to take to the stand when the court reconvenes on Thursday, December 13.