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Disabled woman feels King's Lynn Travelodge sex attack "ignored" by police

Norfolk Constabulary’s chief constable Simon Bailey has said he is disappointed with claims about the handling of an allegation of sexual assault from a disabled woman.

Mr Bailey is the lead spokesman for the National Association of Chief Police Officers on sexual violence, a role he continues to contribute to despite his retirement today from the chief constable’s hot-seat.

The victim of the alleged assault has told the Lynn News she is still “seeking justice” for the incident she says happened in 2017, but was not reported to the police until 2019.

King's Lynn's Travelodge
King's Lynn's Travelodge

The woman, in her 50’s from Lincolnshire claims she was sexually assaulted in the Lynn Travelodge at the Southgates after meeting a close friend for lunch.

She told her story as part of our Women’s Voice’s campaign, which has logged the testimonies of women from West Norfolk.

The woman who lives alone and needs round-the-clock care for her disabilities, travelled to Lynn in October 2019 to meet a man she had known since her school days.

She said: “My partner of five years had recently passed away and I had got in touch with someone I had known before, he was nice to me and we struck up a friendship once more. He asked me to come to Lynn to help him with his business and I obliged, then booking my stay at the Travelodge.”

Simon Bailey, Chief Constable of Norfolk Constabulary (45460854)
Simon Bailey, Chief Constable of Norfolk Constabulary (45460854)

The woman said the couple had planned to meet for lunch, but upon arrival at the hotel he “made excuses” to come into her room.

She said: “He made excuses and said he needed to use the bathroom, I felt uncomfortable but eventually gave in and he came into my room.

“I sat on the bed to wait for him, insisting that we went for lunch. He then proceeded to try to kiss me and began to expose himself to me.

“He then attempted to have sex with me on the bed. I said no and I was terrified. Because of my disabilities, it was hard for him to achieve what he had intended to do.”

The woman has shown the Lynn News police reports including her and the accused party’s statements. The man in question denies any wrongdoing and the investigation was dropped by police.

She said: “I feel like I am still seeking justice, and have had threats from his family members. The police didn’t take me seriously and I feel that they thought I was lying.

“The female officer was not empathetic to me at all. The man’s family thought I was responsible for a sock puppet account on Twitter called Sooty@SweepnSue that was abusive.”

A sock puppet account is a false social media account used by internet trolls to abuse others. The account has now been removed, but screen-shots confirm that it contained malicious content toward the accused and several pictures that police say were found on her phone.

She said: “They put in the report that the pictures from the Sooty account were on my mobile phone and therefore I was responsible for harassment.”

The report shown to the Lynn News by the woman confirms that police found evidence that the sock puppet account was linked to her.

She denies any wrongdoing and feel that this report has jeopardised her pursuit of justice.

She said: “I have lost my carers through this, as they now feel unsafe, I feel alone and that I was never taken seriously by police in the first place.”

In an interview with Chief Constable Simon Bailey it was asked whether policing has changed in the last few years regarding female accounts of rape and sexual assault.

As the officer who responded to Everyone’s Invited 14,000 testimonies of sexual assault across the UK, this issue is something Mr Bailey has worked tirelessly on throughout his policing career.

He said: “Policing isn’t the same as it was, we are having more women come forward than ever before and they will most certainly be taken seriously.”

When asked about the case Mr Bailey said: “I am disappointed if that has happened and would like to look over the report personally.

"Police do not take these decisions lightly and have every care to look after victims.”

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