LAWYERS seeking compensation for an Oldham woman who was raped when she was 15 - some 23 years ago - are alleging there was a catalogue of errors by investigating police which led to her attacker escaping justice.

The then girl, who we have called Susan to protect her identity, was raped by a man in his 30s at the home of a friend she had gone to stay with in the Copster Hill area of the town.

The Oldham Times first reported her ordeal in December 2019, and two months later former detective Maggie Oliver - now a renowned campaigner bringing to light bungled police investigations in child sex exploitation cases - took up her case.

Her newly-launched charitable foundation set up to support victims of such abuse put her in touch with a legal team which has been investigating the circumstances of Susan's case for the last 12 months.

Susan, now 38, has been told the following:

  • Forensic evidence taken from her immediately at the St Mary's Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Manchester after the rape on October 16, 1998 has been lost by police.
  • The alleged suspect was NEVER interviewed by the police and his DNA has NEVER been taken.
  • Although Susan was told at the time by officers that the Crown Prosecution Service had decided there was not enough evidence to charge the attacker, in fact, the case was NEVER presented to the CPS for consideration.

"It's clear to me now, they just didn't want to know," said Susan. "All my fears and suspicions about how the case was handled seem to be turning out to be true."

Meanwhile, Maggie Oliver, whose work with survivors of child sex exploitation has receiving national since it was set up in 2020, acclaim said she was "not remotely surprised" by the shocking revelations from Susan's legal team.

"Greater Manchester Police have been shown to have a diabolical record at investigating crimes of this nature," she said.

"We are finding many cases like Susan's every day. Sexual assaults that have not been investigated in the most routine and basic way. It's frankly appalling and very upsetting.

"My only hope is that Susan is now getting answers to the questions that she wasn't getting all those years ago.

"The sad thing is that this is not an uncommon scenario."

A spokesperson for GMP said: "We are committed to responding to all reports of rape and sexual offences and will ensure that all lines of enquiry are investigated. 

"We can confirm a report was made to police of a sexual assault on a 15-year-old girl on Friday 16 October 1998. A police investigation took place when it was first reported but unfortunately at that time there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a prosecution.

"GMP will investigate all recent and non-recent reports of rape and sexual offences and will also look at previously reported offences where additional evidence may have come to light, regardless of the passage of time, to ensure that those responsible for such crimes are brought to justice.

"Greater Manchester is nationally recognised as a model of good practice in terms of support services available to victims. Contact has been made with the victim in this case and they have been provided with details of a number of support agencies, outside of policing, who are experienced in providing specialist support to victims of such horrendous crimes."