RMP admits failings in rape allegation investigation
The Royal Military Police (RMP) has formally apologised to the family of late Cpl Anne-Marie Ellement for failing to properly investigate her allegation of rape.
Cpl Ellement, a RMP Officer, was found hanged in 2011 after she alleged that she had been raped by two Army colleagues at a barracks in Germany in 2009. At the inquest into her death in April 2014, the Coroner found that the mental effects of the rape, the workplace bullying she suffered and her ‘work-related despair’ were all contributing factors in her suicide.
Following a new, independent rape investigation, the Corporals involved were prosecuted and acquitted earlier this year. The Director of Service Prosecutions said afterwards that the original decision not to prosecute was wrong.
“Anne-Marie deserved better”
The RMP has now acknowledged that mistakes were made in the original investigation, including in relation to decision making, and has offered a formal apology to the family. The RMP statement reads:
“Anne-Marie deserved better and for that the Royal Military Police apologises unreservedly to her family for those failings. In apologising to her family, the Royal Military Police and the wider Army pay tribute to them for the courage and determination that they have shown on behalf of Anne-Marie.”
In a statement released by Liberty, Cpl Ellement’s sister, Sharon Hardy, said:
“I know that the RMP failed my sister and am glad that has finally been admitted. I acknowledge the apology offered today with a heavy heart – but it remains to be seen if they have in fact learnt any lessons.”
This apology has been a long time coming. While lessons have been learnt, more remains to be done to ensure that our service personnel have access to a military justice system that is independent and fair.
I am a solicitor at Bolt Burdon Kemp specialising in Military claims. If you think you may have a claim, contact me free of charge and in confidence on 020 7288 4876 or at KateJames@boltburdonkemp.co.uk for specialist legal advice. Alternatively, you can complete this form and one of the solicitors in the Military team will contact you. You can find out more about the team here.
Our specialist military claims team has represented many service men and women who have suffered a sexual assault and we have seen the devastating impact it can have. If you have been a victim of sexual assault in the military please get in touch with our team for confidential advice about bringing a claim for compensation.
The RMP statement is available to read in full here.
Liberty is campaigning for the Government to amend the law to embed independence and fairness for our troops at the heart of the military justice system.
My colleague, Rhicha Kapila, has previously written a blog about sexual assaults in the military.