Texts that cost man $175k job
POLICE took more than two months to let an innocent man who had been falsely accused of rape know he had been cleared, it emerged today.
Paul Faulkner, 46, was left suicidal over the stress after his partner made a string of allegations against him when he broke up with her in May 2016.
Despite the police having WhatsApp messages from his accuser where she told him it was for "revenge", the CPS took nearly two years to clear Mr Faulkner.
Incredibly, police then took a further two months to let him know that he had been cleared of all charges.
Speaking today, he told The Sun Online: "I'd shown them the evidence, I'd shown them the texts and shown how I was innocent.
"But instead they destroy my life, I lose my job and now I realise that they even knew I was innocent but could not be bothered to tell me."'
The revelation is the latest disturbing example of how the police handle rape cases, after a damning report published yesterday saw nearly 50 collapse over withheld evidence.
Mr Faulkner lost his £100,000-a-year job ($175,000) after being branded a "reputational risk" by bosses when four cops raided his home and arrested him on suspicion of assault, actual bodily harm, sexual assault and coercive control in August 2016.
He remained on bail without charge and Hertfordshire Police officers informed him, after 70 weeks on December 21 2017, that he'd been cleared of rape.
But it was not until February this year - just after we revealed his story - that police informed him he'd been cleared of all charges levelled against him.
After making a request under data protection laws to access information the cops held about him, Mr Faulkner discovered shocking internal memos which showed how he had not been informed for more than 2 months, after the CPS cleared him in November.
He told The Sun Online how he'd been preparing his suicide for New Year's Day, as the false allegations hanging over him for more than 70 weeks took their toll.
"I also find out in these memos that they are referring to me as an 'offender'. Like I'm guilty when I'm not," he added.
"The only way that I feel my case can be described is abuse - I feel abused by Hertfordshire Police."
Mr Faulkner has also shared phone recordings with The Sun Online in which he can be heard telling an officer the length he'd been on police bail without charge as he sought an update on his case.
The officer can be heard gasping, and says: "Oh God".
A spokesman for Hertfordshire Constabulary said: "Mr Faulkner has made an official complaint to Hertfordshire Constabulary and while this is being reviewed it would be inappropriate to comment any further."
Yesterday it was revealed that fifty rape cases collapsed in just two months after an urgent review discovered key evidence was kept secret from defence lawyers.
Prosecutors launched the inquiry after a number of high profile trials fell apart because evidence emerged which cleared the names of men accused of rape.
After reviewing every single ongoing rape case, they stopped 47 where the facts hadn't been disclosed properly.
In each of those cases, the defendants should have been told earlier that police had found evidence which suggested they were not guilty.
Chief prosecutor Alison Saunders yesterday apologised to those affected by the evidence blunders.
She said: "Getting disclosure right is a fundamental part of a fair criminal justice system. Our analysis shows that in the vast majority of cases we are doing that.
"But there are cases where we are falling short, and that is unacceptable.
"I recognise the huge impact on individuals involved, and deeply regret every case where mistakes have been made."
How did police let a man remain under police bail for 70 weeks?
In the UK, being on pre-charge bail, also known as police bail, means that officers are continuing their investigation into what a suspect is accused of without having yet decided if they will seek prosecution. In April last year a 28-day limit came into effect in England and Wales, meaning that investigations are dropped if charges are not brought against suspects within that time frame. There is a three-month extension available to cops in more extreme cases. This law came into effect after Mr Faulkner was arrested, when there was no legal limit on how long a suspect could be under pre-charge bail. Speaking when the new law was announced, the then-Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: "Pre-charge bail is a useful and necessary tool, but in many cases it is being imposed on people for many months, or even years, without any judicial oversight - and that cannot be right. "These important reforms will mean fewer people are placed on bail and for shorter periods. "They will bring about much-needed safeguards - public accountability and independent scrutiny - while ensuring the police can continue to do their vital work."