Rape victim who ran escort agency reads shocking police email after interview tape goes missing

0
14
Rape victim who ran escort agency reads shocking police email after interview tape goes missing



Police investigating a rape case who lost video interviews said ‘it’s not our job to retrieve them’ in an email forwarded to a victim’s lawyer, a new documentary reveals.

‘Sam’, whose story is told in the new ITV1 and ITVX’s Catching My Rapist, read the email on the program after his video interview master tape was tampered with by officers investigating the case.

She was raped by Nuruzzaman Shaheen in 2018, and began a five-year struggle for justice before being jailed for 31 years in January for serious crimes against women, including five charges related to Sam.

The shocking email chain contained discussions between Metropolitan Police officers in the case against Shaheen which spoke of new allegations since Sam reported to police in 2018.

It said their focus should be on this new potential victim and ‘keep away’ from cases like hers and two other complainants from that year which were lost.

‘Sam’ (pictured), whose story is told in the new ITV1 and ITVX’s Catching My Rapist, read out the email on the program after his video interview master tape was botched by officers investigating the case.

The email on the Sam program read: ‘In 2018, the issues were presented to CPS as rape. Three ABE masters are now missing. Sad for the victims but not necessarily our job to recover. There are significant gaps in the case.

‘So in my view, as before, stay away from 2018 for now and focus on the present. We have some cracking new ones [in capital letters] Witness, and if all goes according to plan, he’ll have a girl or two or three working with him when he’s arrested. This will be the latest proof of his initiative.’

After reading the email, Sam admits: ‘You just think *** don’t you? Attempts have been made to detain us in the case for their needs.’

The interview disc was later found, but was among several recordings lost during the trial.

An audio recording played at the event showed Shaheen, when asked by his driver about raping the three women, saying, ‘So? So?… They should call the police.’

Catching My Rapist, which airs tonight at 10.45pm on ITV1 and ITVX, follows Sam’s extraordinary half-decade struggle to bring the man who raped her to justice.

The film follows ‘Sam’ with full access to her story – from revealing her rape, through 18 months in a safe house and police investigation, to the discovery of her other victims and crucial evidence.

The man who raped her was accused of a number of sexual assaults on women applying for work at his London escort agency, and finally, 13 years later, he was arrested and charged with 37 counts.

Sam was raped by Nuruzzaman Shaheen (pictured) in 2018 and began a five-year struggle for justice before being jailed for 31 years in January for serious crimes against women, including five charges related to Sam.

They included four counts of rape and assault by trespassing against Sam and his friend ‘Gabriel’. The nine-week landmark trial began in October last year.

Discussing his ordeal, Sam admitted in the film: ‘I was worried. I was depressed. I feel dirty. I felt used, I felt like damaged goods or something. i don’t know

‘I was definitely like at that moment, I want to go to the police, but I’m afraid to go to the police. What will these people think of me that I decided to become an escort? And then what, you were raped?’

She first met Shaheen in April 2018 when she signed up with an escort agency after running out of money while living in London.

She was initially looking for work as an escort before Shaheen offered to work as an escort with the Soulmate agency in a message: ‘It said, paying for sex is prostitution and illegal, but paying for someone’s time and company, hence escorting, was not.

‘You do £500 a night type thing. I just kind of thought, you know it sounds simple… I was under the impression that paying for sex was illegal.’

He invited her to his flat for an interview, where he raped her, Sam recalls: ‘Shahin gave me some excuses straight away as to why he was in the flat.

‘And then he asked for my passport and said he needed to check my right to work… Once I got into the room, he immediately closed the door and locked the door… I was just in a state of panic. I remember being fixed on some filming equipment.’

Sam (pictured) read the email on the programme: ‘In 2018, matters were presented to CPS as rape. Three ABE masters are now missing. Sad for the victims but not necessarily our job to recover. There are significant gaps in the case’

She later realized that he had set up a profile for her on a prostitution website, services to which she had not agreed.

Sam said: ‘I stayed until the end, as long as I did, because I was scared of him. I feared my fate. I mean, have I broken the law? This man knew where I lived. He can find me.’

After five months, he worked up the courage to go to a police station and was interviewed.

Sam moves to the women’s shelter because of Shaheen’s threats. But 16 months after her rape, police sent her a letter in August 2019 saying no further action would be taken.

Devastated Sam said: ‘I handed over everything related to the case. And this guy continues his operation and exploits women and the system is fine with that. Something had to happen. It had to be stopped.’

She found Shaheen’s other victims who spoke of their experiences with him, including ‘Gabriel’, who said of Sam: ‘I asked him if he raped her too… he said yes. And what he describes, he says exactly the same thing that I say – the same process, the same type of interview.’

After discovering that Shaheen is still using his picture on his site, Sam hires a girl to click his own picture.

When he arrived, the girl was nothing like him and Sam offered to help her. Sam said: ‘It was really funny because he told me that Shaheen talked about this girl who went to the police.

“The police didn’t do anything. They didn’t do anything,” you know, and here I’m thinking, “He’s talking about me.”

Sam spoke with Kate Ellis, a lawyer at the Center for Women’s Justice, who helped reopen the investigation.

Nine months later the police revealed that the video recording of his original interview had been lost.

After Sam returned to the police station for a third interview after his second DVD failed to work, he said: ‘I felt really exposed. And it takes my memory back to a time where I was quite helpless. I don’t like this feeling.’

After Shaheen was charged with 40 offenses in 2021, Sam was re-interviewed by police with another witness suggesting he collude.

She says: ‘It made me afraid to talk to other girls. To know that out of fear, am I going to harm this case by talking to someone? This put me in a position where I felt my support network was somewhat fragile. I was a bit fragile.’

The case eventually went to trial in October 2022, and Shaheen was found guilty of five charges related to Sam and four of the five related to Gabrielle. He was convicted of 22 charges and sentenced to 31 years in prison in January 2023.

Sam said: ‘Believing, you know, made me feel validated, helped me let go of some deep feelings…

‘I think the point is he’s off the streets now, no longer a danger, no longer a threat. So I’m safe, and everyone else is safe from him. I think that’s the biggest thing.’

Sentencing Shaheen, Judge Levitt said: ‘As well as paying tribute to the victims, I would like to apologize to all of them on behalf of the criminal justice system for taking so long to charge the defendant…

‘Mrs A and Mrs B [Sam and Gabrielle] Those who first complained to the police were repeatedly told that no criminal charges would be brought.’

The Metropolitan Police says it is transforming the way it investigates rape and serious sex crimes and has nearly doubled detection rates for rape.

It said: ‘Victim-survivors are at the forefront of every rape investigation and are always treated with respect and dignity by officers.

‘We are now investing in transforming the way police investigate rape and serious sex offences, hundreds more officers and staff to target abusers, support victims and make women and girls safer. We almost doubled the rate of detection of rape.’

Catching My Rapist is on ITV1 and ITVX tonight at 10.45pm (Monday).

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here