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May 13, 2003

Rape claim woman 'handcuffed'

From: BBC, UK - May 13, 2003

A deaf mother was handcuffed and spent a night in a police cell because she could not tell officers about her rape claim, a court has heard.

It was alleged that Strathclyde Police officers could not understand the 44-year-old and threatened to charge her with being drunk in charge of her daughter.

A jury heard how the woman spent hours in custody, banging on the cell door and crying but unable to explain her plight.

Her daughter had dialled 999 to bring officers to the woman's West of Scotland home in April last year.

"The police said I was mental, I was crazy and that is when they handcuffed me," she said.

Aggressive claim

The woman, who has been profoundly deaf since an attack of measles when she was two years old, needed a sign language interpreter to describe her ordeal to the High Court in Edinburgh.

The court heard that it was only when another interpreter arrived at a police station - where the terrified woman had been locked up for hours - that detectives began to investigate the rape claim.

On trial is James Clark, 17, of Haddington Way, Kirkshaws, Coatbridge, who denies a rape charge, claiming that anything which happened between them in the woman's home, was with her consent.

The woman denied suggestions from solicitor advocate James Carmichael, defending Mr Clark, that she was drunk or aggressive to the officers.

Interpreter 'went mad'

The woman admitted she might have inflicted "a little scratch" when taken to the police station because she wanted the handcuffs off.

The woman told the jury: "I was going crazy. The woman handcuffed me because I was so upset and crying. I was taken out to the police car in handcuffs."

Finally, she said, an interpreter arrived in the morning.

The woman told the court that the interpreter "went mad" and told police they should have given the 44-year-old mum writing paper.

The officer in charge, she said, told his colleagues to forget about the allegations against the woman and investigate her rape claim.

The trial continues on Thursday.