Woman suing after her rape case was dropped over sexsomnia claims
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Featured Image Credit: BBC Publicity/BBC Three
A woman is suing the Crown Prosecution Service after it admitted it shouldn't have dropped her rape case.
30-year-old Jade McCrossen-Nethercott's woke up in the early hours of a Sunday morning in 2017 to find she was half-naked, with the feeling that she had been raped.
Speaking in the BBC Three's Sexsomnia: Case Closed?, McCrossen-Nethercott said she confronted the man when she woke up.
"I confronted him saying, ‘What’s happened? What have you done?’ And he said something a bit odd I guess, but he did say ‘I thought you were awake’. And he just bolted out basically, and left the door open," she said.
McCrossen-Nethercott explained that she then called a friend, with police arriving to take her for forensic tests.
Vaginal swabs detected semen which allowed investigators to track it back to the man.
When McCrossen-Nethercott was asked to make a statement to the police, she was asked about her sleeping, telling police that she was a deep sleeper and sometimes sleepwalked as a teenager.
However, just days before the suspect was due to stand trial in 2020, lawyers from the CPS said her case was being dropped because two sleep experts said it was possible McCrossen-Nethercott had experienced an episode of sexsomnia and could have appeared to have been awake and consenting.
Sexsomnia is a rare sleeping condition where people typically perform sexual acts in their sleep.
However, Jade - who is waivering her right to anonymity - spent months investigating the condition and challenged the decision made by the CPS.
The CPS eventually admitted to being wrong on the case, stating it should have gone to trial.
To help pursue an appeal, McCrossen-Nethercott requested all the evidence that made the CPS decide on dropping the case.
She admitted to being shocked by the weight given to the evidence from sleep experts that had never met her.
As a result, she submitted a victim’s right to review to the CPS and a chief crown prosecutor, independent of the CPS department which made the original decision that there was no case.
He concluded that the case should have gone to trial, and that the sleep experts’ opinions and the defendant’s account should have been challenged in court.
He wrote: "I cannot begin to imagine what you have been through and how you feel. I noted during my review the devastating effect of this case on you. I apologise unreservedly for this on behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service although I appreciate that is likely to be of little consolation to you."
In a statement released on its website, the CPS said: "We are committed to delivering meaningful change in how we investigate and prosecute rape to try and build public confidence and help more victims see justice."
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 between 12pm–2.30pm and 7pm– 9.30pm every day. Alternatively, you can contact Victim Support free on 08 08 16 89 111 available 24/7, every day of the year, including Christmas