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Women Against Rape campaign group accuses CPS of mishandling Hampstead mother’s domestic violence case

Women Against Rape has written to the CPS about its handling of this woman's case against her violent ex-husband. Picture: Nigel Sutton Women Against Rape has written to the CPS about its handling of this woman's case against her violent ex-husband. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
8:00 AM

A prominent campaign group has criticised prosecutors for refusing to press charges against a man who allegedly assaulted his ex-wife in the 1980s and 1990s and left her permanently disabled.

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Women Against Rape has accused the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) of mishandling the domestic violence case, after the CPS stood by its original decision to take no further action against the ex-husband.

The mother-of-two, 58, who has lived in Hampstead for decades, says she was hit so hard in the head in 1994 that she suffered a brain haemorrhage and has been plagued by debilitating nerve damage and neurological problems ever since.

But the CPS said there was not enough evidence to charge her ex-husband with GBH and it has now closed the matter, after the woman unsuccessfully challenged its decision through the Victims’ Right to Review Scheme (VRRS).

Campaign group Women Against Rape, based at the Crossroads Women’s Centre in Wolsey Mews, Kentish Town, has branded the review a “sham” and urged the CPS to reconsider once again.

In a letter penned by campaigner Lisa Longstaff, the organisation said: “It is clear that the case has been improperly handled throughout by the police and the CPS, and we urge you to reconsider your decisions regarding the case.

“This should include the vital medical evidence proving [the victim’s] injuries were extremely serious.”

Since the original police investigation, the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has gathered medical records and photos of the harm she suffered, but she says these have not been considered by the CPS.

She said this week: “It’s an abject failure, because the evidence is there, it’s under their noses and yet they are refusing to go back and look at it. I’m not going to stop, I’m determined to see this process through.”

Women Against Rape has also backed her calls for a change in the law, to remove a time limit that requires common assault charges to be brought within six months of an attack taking place.

The time limit meant the CPS could not charge the woman’s ex-husband with the less serious offence of common assault instead of GBH.

A CPS spokesman said: “The specialist prosecutor asked the police to carry out significant further inquiries with a view to obtaining additional evidence in order to build a case.

“Following these inquiries, the prosecutor concluded that the decision not to prosecute this case was in fact correct.”

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