British teen at the centre of the Ayia Napa gang rape scandal

Friends of British teen who was convicted of falsely accusing 12 Israeli men of gang rape in Ayia Napa reveal how they found her ‘crying hysterically surrounded by group of men’ in a hotel room

  • Documentary on Ayia Napa gang rape scandal airs on ITV tonight at  10:45pm
  • Believe Me is said to feature fresh testimony about events in Ayia Napa last July
  •  It includes compelling statements from the woman’s friends from the aftermath
  • It comes after she was accused of lying and prosecuted by island’s authorities 
  • Friends told how they found her ‘crying hysterically and surrounded by men’ 

Friends of the British teenager who claimed she was gang raped by a group of Israeli teens have recalled how they found her ‘crying hysterically surrounded by men’, in new documentary ‘Believe Me’ which airs on ITV tonight.

Jacob, who had been on the trip with her at the time, recalled how he arrived at the apartment and found the anonymous Derbyshire teenager, now 19 – who has been given the name “Emily” in the documentary – surrounded by the teenagers.

He recalled the moment he found her, revealing: ‘One of them had his arms over her shoulders as if to pull her close, and the two were almost standing either side of her so that she had nowhere to move. So I’ve said “what are you doing?”  and they didn’t reply and started walking away. 

‘She was crying and I was like “come on, come on, come with me and I’ll take you downstairs to where we were living”.

ITV’s Believe Me is said to feature fresh testimony about the alleged attack in Ayia Napa last July including compelling statements from the young woman’s friends.

It comes after she received a suspended four-month jail sentence for ‘public mischief’ while the group of Israeli suspects walked free.

Friends of the British teenager, now 19, seen, who claimed she was gang raped by a group of Israeli teens have recalled how they found her ‘crying hysterically surrounded by men’, in new documentary ‘Believe Me’ which airs on ITV tonight

Speaking in the documentary about the moment she returned to their apartment, her friend Becca said: ‘My friend runs at me, towards me. She was hysterical – I’ve never seen anyone in that kind of state in my life. It was scary. She just collapsed on my bed and was just curled up.

‘I just grabbed her and was hugging her and was like “Just tell me what’s wrong, what’s happened, I can help you, just tell me what happened – did he hurt you?”.’

‘She was like “yeah and she said “yes but not just him”, and that’s when I put it together and was like “did they rape you”, and she said “yes”.’

ITV’s Believe Me is the 19-year-old’s first television interview since the ordeal. 

Speaking in the documentary, her friend Becca said: ‘My friend runs at me, towards me. She was hysterical – I’ve never seen anyone in that kind of state in my life. It was scary. She just collapsed on my bed and was just curled up.’

She said that police had forced her to retract her statement, explaining: ‘There was no other way out of that police station other than [to] sign that retraction statement.

‘I thought, “As soon as I am outside this volatile environment I can sort this out.”

‘When you’re in that situation, the only sensible thing to do is to conform.’

The documentary features her barrister, Lewis Powers, who slams police failings as a ‘disgraceful miscarriage of justice’.

Her defence lawyer at trial, Nicoletta Charalambidou, also adds that the island has a culture of not believing women’s claims of rape.

Jacob, who had been on the trip with her at the time, recalled how he arrived at the apartment and found the anonymous teenager, now 19, who has been given the name “Emily” in the documentary, surrounded by the gang

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, says she was raped after striking up a ‘normal holiday romance’ with a young Israeli – and then she had to face a prison ordeal

She says: ‘I do not understand why it’s easier to believe that a woman was not raped, rather than believing she was raped.

‘Because if you wanted to believe her… All the evidence was there to conclude that there was rape.’

Emily, who is now back in the UK and set to appeal against her conviction, vowed: ‘I will achieve justice.’

The Cyprus police have said their investigation was handled with professionalism and they deny improper conduct.

The woman recently told the Sun how she went to Cyprus to work and holiday but ended up suffering an ordeal. 

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told how she was raped after striking up a ‘normal holiday romance’ with a young Israeli.

The bedroom where the teenager says she endured the gang rape ordeal in Ayia Napa, Cyprus 

Shimon Yusufov, 19, has been named as the Israeli who met the British student, also 19, while on holiday in Cyprus last July

She recalled how they went back to his hotel room in the early hours of the morning.

She said: ‘I knew he was leaving the next day so we started kissing. About five minutes later, I heard the sound of the room door opening and turned around.

‘He grabbed me and threw me on the bed.

‘He pinned my shoulders down by kneeling on them — he was well-built, strong — I couldn’t move. From under his knees, I turned and saw the light growing from the doorway.’

The 12 other attackers entered the room, she said: ‘Some of them grabbed my ankles, some held down my knees and they ripped my bodysuit.

‘I was trying to cross my legs all the time and every time I did, Sam would get angry. He grabbed one of my knees himself at one point. Then they took it in turns.’

She says she was forced to sign a confession saying she made up the attack that was dictated to her by a male police officer.

However, the teenager still had faith that a judge would recognise that the statement was written under extreme pressure.

Instead she was put through another six-month ordeal, first being put in prison where she lost two-and-a-half stone in weight, then being under house arrest.

After five weeks behind bars she was granted bail but her family had to raise 20,000 euros to secure her release. 

The teenager has now filed an appeal to try and get her conviction overturned.

Her dreams of becoming an anti-terror police officer, having got into university to study criminology, have been shattered by the post-traumatic stress disorder she suffers from. 

Believe Me: The Cyprus Rape Case airs on ITV at 10.45pm tonight.

The Israeli youths are greeted with hugs after being released from police custody 

 

 

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