Head scratcher for #MeToo – Woman who set up her ex on false rape charge ‘because he had new girlfriend’, walks away free, even after her gloating texts that cleared him were found, and she admitted her motive’
‘I’m not just going to mess his life up, I’m going to ruin it lol’ – jilted lover
British Telecoms engineer Connor Fitzgerald, falsely accused of raping woman spent three months languishing in jail
Turns out police failed to disclose damning texts from accuser that would have exonerated him
Case against Fitzgerald, 19, collapsed when prosecutors eventually saw the texts
He lost his job and says he is now scared to go outside after the rape allegation
It comes after police apologized to Liam Allan, and negligently held Oliver, Mears, Samson Makele and Isaac Itiary longer than necessary after failing to provide exculpatory evidence
One common thread in several of the botched investigations is Det Mark Azariah who failed to provide evidence at his disposal
The rape case against Connor Fitzgerald [photo], collapsed when prosecutors found the messages sent by the woman accusing him of rape, indicated it was a set up.
When the woman, who accused her ex-boyfriend of rape was confronted by investigators, she simply said said she sent texts threatening to “ruin his life” in anger after discovering he had a new lover.
Connor Fitzgerald of Croydon, south London, was arrested and held in a prison cell for three months after the woman told cops he raped her.
The teenager who was picked up on allegations of a sex crime spent three months in custody because police allegedly, did not disclose text messages that proved his innocence.
British Telecoms engineer Fitzgerald, 19, was arrested in 2017 after a complaint of a sex crime was made against him.
But charges were dropped only last week when it emerged that the complainant, who is entitled to lifelong anonymity, had sent texts threatening to destroy him.
One of the messages apparently read: ‘I’m not just going to mess up his life, I’m going to ruin it lol [laugh out loud].’
The case is the latest in a string of investigations or trials that have collapsed in the face of police failure to disclose vital evidence to the defense.
In an interview with the British paper, The Sun Fitzgerald said: ‘It’s been heartbreaking. It felt like I was guilty until proven innocent. My life has been ruined. I’m scared to even leave the house because everyone thinks I’m a rapist.’
The botched investigation comes after Britain’s Scotland Yard apologized to another alleged sex offender, College student Liam Allan, 22, for failing to provide vital text messages during his 2 year rape trial, in which he was found not guilty.
Charges were dropped only last week when it emerged that the complainant (in grey), who is entitled to lifelong anonymity, had sent texts threatening to destroy Mr Fitzgerald (in blue)
Mr Fitzgerald was arrested in front of his mother and sister in November when police officers raided the family home. It followed a complaint that a woman made in June.
She alleged Mr Fitzgerald raped her after a drunken night out.
After the arrest he was denied bail and was instead held on remand at HMP High Down, which is a category B prison in Banstead, Surrey.
He was reprieved after Mr Fitzgerald’s brother found some of the text messages from the woman on his iCloud account and informed the authorities.
Fitzgerald’s bitter ex sent a message to a pal saying: “I’m not just going to mess his life up, I’m going to ruin it lol.”
The alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said “it has caused her grief” after the case against her ex was dropped.
She said she “hasn’t heard from him since”.
The bombshell texts that helped clear the suspect, were released at the end of the investigation, including one which said: “See you in court” and another which read: “If I can’t have you, no one can”.
After things turned bitter between them, the accuser sent a message to a pal saying: “I’m not just going to mess his life up, I’m going to ruin it lol.”
Texts emerged showing Fitzgerald’s ex-girlfriend, the alleged victim, had written how she enjoyed sleeping with him
Connor Fitzgerald ‘I was guilty until proven innocent’
Connor said she told him she would “never let me be with anyone else because she’d kill us”.
In other threatening messages, the accuser warned her ex she would kill him and his new partner: “She threatened me and my girlfriend and said she’d kill the both of them,” Fitzgerald said.
“She started messaging me all crazy stuff – ‘What about our family?’
“And then it turned to ‘I’m going to get you nicked for this'”.
The teen showed screenshots from his phone where his accuser claimed to have enjoyed sex with him.
The missing texts also showed the woman saying that she had enjoyed the sex.
The official line was that the case against college student Liam Allan collapsed over a lack of disclosure ’caused by a combination of error, lack of challenge, and lack of knowledge’,
The issue of disclosure of evidence has been at the center of a series of sex offence trials which have collapsed in the UK in recent months with evidence of chronic failure by police to disclose evidence that might have exonerated or helped alleged offenders even before even going to trial. The predictable outcome is the collapse of these sex offence cases.
The Metropolitan Police force personally apologized to Liam Allan, 22, after he spent nearly two years on bail and endured three days on trial before it was discovered his accuser had pestered him for “casual sex”.
Liam Allan’s mom Lorraine [wearing red coat], is in tears hugs him after all rape charges against her son were dropped
Eerily similar: Liam Allan was freed after a two-year harrowing but ultimately unfounded rape accusation from s spurned ex
Earlier this month, the case against Oxford student Oliver Mears, who spent two years on bail accused of raping and indecently assaulting a woman in was dropped in another case derailed over the failures by police and prosecutors to find and disclose crucial evidence.
Mears, 19, suspended his chemistry studies at St Hugh’s College while awaiting trial for allegedly raping and assaulting a woman at a party in July 2015.
But the CPS decided to offer no evidence against him on the basis of fresh evidence, including a diary that supported his case, which was passed to the CPS just a week earlier.
The case was eerily similar to the trial of Liam Allan last week, when the Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence.
But days before it was due to start, the Crown Prosecution Service [CPS] announced it would not be presenting any evidence against him after receiving new material from Surrey Police.
In the end the case was dropped because the CPS offered no evidence against Oliver Mears, but it cost the young man two academic years.
It emerged last week that more than 900 criminal cases were dropped last year due to a failure by police or prosecutors to disclose evidence.
The series of failures led former Lord Chief Justice, Igor Judge, to warn that juries may start to think they have not been shown all the evidence, and victims to not come forward.
In December, Isaac Itiary was released from prison after it emerged his alleged victim posed as a 19-year-old woman and lied about her age.
Police officers had texts which showed the girl was lying about her age but only released them after he had spent four months in custody awaiting his trial.
Isaac Itiary, 25, was remanded in jail for four months after being charged with raping a child under 16 – but has been freed after texts showing his evidence were not released by the investigating detective, Mark Azariah
Earlier this month, the case against Samson Makele, 28, was halted after his defence team unearthed vital photographs from his mobile phone which had not been made available.
Mr Makele was accused of raping a woman after they met at Notting Hill Carnival in 2016 but he always claimed the sex was consensual.
His case, which was due to begin next month, was thrown out after more than a dozen photographs were found which showed the pair naked and cuddling in bed.
Connor Fitzgerald has since said that he plans to sue the police and CPS. ‘If my brother hadn’t found the texts, I’d have ended up in prison for 12 years or more,’ he said.
A CPS spokesman insisted that: ‘This case was charged in accordance with the Threshold Test, which is applied in serious cases where further evidence is expected to become available within a reasonable period.
‘A decision to charge under the Threshold Test must be kept under review, and prosecutors are required to take account of any change in circumstances as a case develops.
‘In January 2018, police provided more material in this case. Upon review of that material, it was decided that there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction.
‘We therefore decided to offer no evidence at a hearing at Croydon Crown Court on January 22.’
In the words of a Metropolitan Police spokesperson: ‘We are content with the investigation and our disclosure work, which was conducted in liaison with the CPS.
‘During the course of the hearing there was no adverse comment from the Judge about the police investigation.’
It comes after the litany of blunders that led to Mr Allan being wrongly accused of rape was revealed, as police admitted no one will be disciplined over the botched prosecution.
A review of his case found a ‘lack of knowledge’ by police and prosecutors was to blame for the suspect spending two years with the charges hanging over him – ahead of a trial which was halted at Croydon Crown Court.
A detective was criticised for his handling of 57,000 messages found on the alleged victim’s phone, some of which fatally undermined the case.
Detective Mark Azariah did not record how he searched the digital trove of messages which revealed that the woman pestered Mr Allan for ‘casual sex’.
A senior police officer said Det. Azariah’s supervisors and prosecutors missed several opportunities to spot his error.
Neither Azariah, who has since asked to be assigned to different duties, nor any other officer will face misconduct proceedings.
The joint review by police and prosecutors found no evidence that the information was ‘deliberately’ withheld.
Instead, it blamed the mistakes on ‘a combination of error, lack of challenge, and lack of knowledge’.
It felt like I was guilty until proven innocent. My life has been ruined.
Mr Allan, a criminology major at Greenwich University in London, spent two years on bail accused of rape and sexual assault.
His case collapsed in December, sparking a national row over the failures by the authorities to disclose relevant information to defendants.
In the aftermath, thousands of rape prosecutions in the UK are being re-examined to check whether they have been affected by similar errors.
In the capital city of London alone, 600 rape cases in the final stages before trial are being reassessed.