A WOMAN who says she was raped as a 15-year-old 22 years ago is set to launch an official complaint against the police for what she claims is their failure to bring her attacker to justice.

The victim says she has been told by police that forensic evidence compiled following a "deeply personal and traumatic medical examination" following the alleged attack on October 16, 1998 has been destroyed.

Now 37, the woman The Oldham Times is calling Susan and whose real identity we are not disclosing, says she has been traumatised her entire adult life by the attack which took place in the Copster Hill area of the town.

Her mother says that immediately after the attack, the Crown Prosecution Service opted not to proceed with the case because Susan had already had sex with her then boyfriend.

Allegations of historic child sex abuse in Oldham currently under investigation and revelations by two victims of abuse publicised in this newspaper recently motivated her finally to try to bring the perpetrator who preyed on her when she was a schoolgirl to justice.

But when she asked the police to look into her case, Susan says she was told the forensic evidence gathered at the St Mary's Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Manchester in 1998 had been destroyed.

Susan told the harrowing story of how she was lured to the house where the attack took place by a 14-year-old girl who befriended her, but who already had a child with an Asian partner in his 20s and who she was living with and who she had a child by.

Susan's mother reluctantly allowed her to go for a "sleep over" at her new friend's house.

On the night she stayed there, a second man raped her at knifepoint as Susan suffered an epileptic fit, a condition from which she has suffered all her life, but eventually found the strength to scream out.

The man later kissed her on the cheek before allowing her to leave the house in the morning.

She was taken to St Mary's where she waited all day in the clothes she was wearing without having a shower so that evidence could be gathered.

As a result of her experience at St Mary's, Susan has never been for a smear test because of how "degrading" having swabs taken at the hospital was.

After contacting the police again recently to get the case reopened, she was told the evidence taken at the time had been destroyed.

Before the The Oldham Times published her distressing story on December 12, we contacted Greater Manchester Police via its communications team to ask if this was true.

It took until December 24 to get a reply.

This was the response: "A report was made to police of a sexual assault on a 15-year-old woman on Friday 16 October 1998.

"Police investigated the offence but it was deemed that there was insufficient evidence to mount a prosecution.

"Police have been in touch with the complainant and advised her of counselling and support.

"We will always respond to allegations of rape or sexual assault and will examine any further evidence that may assist a prosecution."

Susan says, contrary to the statement, which does not address whether or not the evidence was destroyed, the police have not been touch with her.

Yesterday, she said: "I am appalled by the way the police have handled this. No wonder many rapes go unreported. I have never had a satisfactory explanation as to why my attacker was not prosecuted and every time they say they will get back to me with information, they don't.

"I am launching a formal complaint against the police, if only for the sake of others who may find themselves in a similar situation to me."

Susan is now seeking counselling.