A businessman who spent three weeks in jail after falsely being accused of rape by a woman he met on the internet is suing the police for malicious prosecution and wrongful imprisonment. Nigerian-born Kayode Modupe-Ojo, a former boyfriend of David Beckham’s sister Joanne, said his reputation has been destroyed and he lost his business because police failed to investigate properly the woman’s fictitious allegations – including that he possessed firearms – or the glaring inconsistencies in her story.
The 28-year-old former spa owner was arrested at his home in Cheshire shortly after spending two days with the woman. His accuser gave a harrowing but entirely false account of being tied up and moved around the north-east of England against her will, after a sexual encounter turned terrifyingly violent.
Mr Modupe-Ojo, who has lived in Britain since the age of three, was dragged from his bed by the police, handcuffed and questioned for three days without legal representation before being charged with multiple counts of rape and kidnapping. On the basis of the woman’s lies, Durham Police declared he was ‘a danger to women’ and he was remanded in jail for three weeks.
Last week the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee called for people accused of sexual offences to be given anonymity. Mr Modupe-Ojo’s lawyer has referred the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Paul Schofield, of Farleys Solicitors, said: ‘It illustrates the flaws of a legal system that names and shames those accused of sex crimes, without giving them any protection when the accusations turn out to be untrue.
'Even though it was obvious in court that the woman lied and lied, she is still protected by the legal system because no criminal charges have so far been brought against her. 'As things stands she has a lifetime anonymity while my client remains tainted by the abhorrent stigma of a rape charge. It’s also clearly a case that would not have gone to trial if the police had done their jobs correctly. It was as if they couldn’t be bothered.’
Mr Modupe-Ojo was acquitted when his trial at Newcastle Crown Court collapsed last year due to glaring discrepancies in the prosecution case. But he said that by then the damage had already been done. ‘The judge directed the jury to acquit me, but my reputation was left in tatters,’ he says. ‘There are people out there who think, “no smoke without fire”.
|Kayode Modupe-Ojo's former girlfriend Joanne is pictured right with her brother David Beckham|
‘It is grossly unfair that my details have been in the media, while my accuser gets away without a blemish to her name. Rape is one of the most repulsive crimes there is. ‘A false claim not only ruins the lives of innocent men, but it damages their families. I did nothing wrong and yet this case almost destroyed me.’
What Mr Modupe-Ojo describes as ‘the most terrifying period’ in his life began in August 2013 when he responded to a ‘friend request’ on Facebook from a beautiful blonde woman he had never met before. The law prevents her from being named even though the court found her allegations to be entirely false. During their time together Mr Modupe-Ojo took the woman to restaurants, a club and they stayed in two hotels which she booked and paid for. He also drove her home to pack an overnight bag and spent 30 minutes talking with her mother. He says: ‘She was very attractive. We texted and Skyped each other before meeting. She was the driving force behind our meeting and I was flattered by her attention.’
‘My accuser was alone in her room upstairs and could have used her phone to call for help if I had been the mad rapist she made me out to be,’ he added. ‘I told all of this to the police questioning me. 'I also gave them the passwords to my phone and laptop so they could check the correspondence between us.’ He still has text messages she sent after they parted. There were also numerous CCTV images of the pair cuddling, kissing and holding hands.
‘There was ample CCTV evidence and witnesses to prove she was all over me in public, but the police didn’t seem to be interested in proving my innocence. They seemed convinced they had their man,’ he says. ‘When the female officer told me I would be remanded because I was a danger to women and a flight risk, my legs buckled. I had done nothing wrong, yet I was facing a lengthy prison sentence if found guilty.’ Further charges for firearms offences and a threat to kill were dropped because no weapon was found in his flat.
Once Mr Modupe-Ojo’s case came to trial, alarming discrepancies emerged. The accuser claimed she had known her attacker for years. Yet in her opening message on Facebook, she admitted they’d never met. ‘She told the court I had stolen her phone and written the text,’ Mr Modupe-Ojo says. ‘But this fell apart when it was revealed she had also texted her friend to say happy birthday and called her mum while we were together.’She said she had been tied up and moved around against her will. Yet it emerged she texted her boyfriend to tell him she was OK.
Incredibly, the police did not examine the outgoing texts or calls from her mobile. By the time the judge instructed the jury to acquit him, his name had been reported, his bank accounts frozen on order of the police, and he’d lost his salon. ‘I lost everything,’ he says bitterly. ‘I was even evicted from the gated community where I lived after women residents complained about living with a potential rapist.’
But what hurts him most is that the stigma of being a rapist still follows him ‘like a bad smell’. It is the key factor – along with his financial losses – in his decision to sue the police. ‘I want it made clear I did nothing wrong and I was the real victim.’
SOURCE: Daily Mail