A piece by David Brown in today’s online edition of The Times, considerably longer than the piece in the print edition. Emphases ours:
The case against a policeman accused of raping two women has collapsed after one of the alleged victims said that she was coerced by other officers into making false allegations.
Sergeant Blair Pettigrew was accused of raping two women and indecently assaulting a third.
The case has been dropped after the High Court in Edinburgh was told that one of the alleged victims admitted she had never met Sergeant Pettigrew.
His defence lawyers had repeatedly sought the disclosure of the prosecution evidence.
It was claimed that two female detectives involved had questioned one of the alleged victims three times, and she had initially denied knowing Sergeant Pettigrew before identifying him.
Days before the start of the four-week trial the alleged victim, who cannot been named for legal reasons, withdrew her allegations.
In an email to one of the detectives involved in the case, which was read to the court, she said: “I’ve got a meeting with the [prosecutor] on Friday and I am sorry but I will be telling her I only said what I thought you wanted to hear.
“Your officers wouldn’t leave me alone at my mum’s and then you started coming to my new house. I told you I didn’t know him and you pushed. I have a new life and you made me push into my past. I think I mixed the guy you are after with someone else.”
A hearing last August was told that Sergeant Pettigrew, 35, raped one woman twice while wearing his police uniform. The officer denied any wrongdoing, claiming that the allegations had been concocted by the women, who were connected with each other.
A spokesman for the Crown Office said: “It is the duty of the Crown to keep cases under review and after full and careful consideration of the facts and circumstances, including the admissible evidence currently available, Crown Counsel instructed there should be no further proceedings at this time. Should the evidential position change, the Crown reserves the right to re-raise proceedings. The complainers in the case have been advised of the decision.”
Sergeant Pettigrew, from Ardrossan, Ayrshire, pleaded not guilty to all charges. The offences were alleged to have occurred between 2005 and 2015.
He was accused of threatening to expose the “private life” of one of the women if she did not agree to sex. Another alleged victim claimed he had threatened to take her “into police custody” if she did not carry out a sex act.
A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: “We acknowledge the decision by COPFS [Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service]. Any reports of crimes committed by police officers or staff are investigated thoroughly. As soon as the circumstances in this case were reported an investigation was conducted and a report was submitted to the procurator fiscal. Correspondence was received in January from a witness who raised concerns regarding the statement they had provided to police during the investigation. As a result, officers independent of the original investigation re-interviewed the witness, who provided new information which was relevant to the case. Police Scotland is absolutely committed to thoroughly investigating reports of sexual crime.”
Sergeant Pettigrew remains suspended and a report will be submitted to the assistant chief constable in charge of professionalism.
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