Sunday, 20 January 2013

More text message evidence: Showing Ellie was bitter about being rejected

Ben's phone had only just come back from the specialist forensics laboratory (to download the contents using approved methods) when another friend had come forward with new text message evidence.

Ellie had been messaging our mutual friend Ann shortly after our date to complain about my rejection.

Quick recap on the dates. Ellie and I went on a date on the 23rd December 2012. I told her I didn't want to see her again the next day when I found out she was a prostitute. On the 26th December she starts to spread rumours to friends that I did something bad to her. On the 4th of January 2013 I send her an email telling her to stop of I'll report her to police for harassment. She goes to police before I can and claims I raped her and I get arrested.

These messages related to the period after I rejected her. They clearly state that she was upset at the rejection. No mention of any rape. In fact she says I was "full of adoration"


QUOTE: (names have been changed)

25 December 2012

12:25
I'm now safe with my family. The ambulance people treated me for shock and luckily I had a supply of sleeping pills. Without going into specifics, Ec and I had had a brief fling, encouraged by Ben. I woke up at his yesterday morning and he was full of adoration. Then once I've finished work and I am driving to my family, he calls me up and says I am an uncool manipulative bitch and to never contact him again. Xxxx

16:38
I just never want to see him again. I can only assume he was on drugs or something when he spoke to me. It is especially hard because I told him my depression story, then he told me that I was being manipulative and attention seeking. he has also de-friended me on Facebook. I don't understand what I have done wrong. Xxxx

UNQUOTE


Please see the image from the forensic phone report below (non relevant messages and names have been redacted)







Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Text messages that show Ellie lied: "We've had huge fun together"

I was talking to my friend Ben about the allegations one evening and he said out of the blue "Oh I think I have some text messages that could be helpful for your case".

"What are you talking about?", I exclaimed?

Ben had known about the allegations for days but had not said anything about these text messages. He's a very casual relaxed character and I guess it didn't click that he had some important evidence sitting on his phone until now.

We arranged to meet that evening. I told him not to lose his phone and that he had my life in his hands. I was so nervous. He had told me a little about these messages but I had to see them for myself.

Apparently Ellie had been messaging him whilst she was in my flat and I only just found out about this now.

My heart was beating so fast all day. I couldn't wait to see the messages for myself. I also needed to make copies and to take a video asap, in case his phone got stolen. We needed copies.

We met up at 8pm that evening and he scrolled through the text message conversation he had had with Ellie. I couldn't believe it. She message him from m flat, the morning after the alleged rape saying "Yes I like Ec, a good match" and later said "we have had huge fun together", when we ere shopping in Ann Summers. All of these messages were the morning after the alleged incident.


This is the actual transcript of the messages: (some names have been changed)


QUOTE


24th December 2012

09:21
ELLIE: FYI, I am at Ec’s flat, still!!


09:22
ELLIE: Please don’t tell him I told you


09:24
BEN: Just texted him about NYE. Great news. You two are the most mischievous people I know!


09:33
ELLIE: Hahaha yes you are talking about H and her lack of invitation. I am coming along with 5 bottles of decent prosecco and Twister to play whilst drunk, and whoever loses has to do a dare! I finish work at 6 so I’ll just walk along. Yes I like Ec, a good match…. we shall see what happens


09:58
BEN: Amazing! That’s fantastic news. He’s a total hero you guys would have huge fun together. See you NYE. At Gatwick currently. Off to Biarritz and 70 degrees xx


11:18
ELLIE: We’ve had huge fun together actually and we are still together doing last-minute Christmas shopping


11:19
ELLIE: We’ve had huge fun together actually and we are still together doing last-minute Christmas shopping


11:19
ELLIE: BIG THANKS for sort – of being matchmaker. Although keep it on the down-low if you don’t mind?


11:19
BEN: Cool. Would be happy development. Know what you mean about shopping, just did mine, nothing says I love you like an airport gift! Xx


11:20
BEN: I won’t tell



1st January 2013

16:46
BEN: You were HILARIOUS last night. I don’t think I have ever seen you so drunk. And thanks for our chat (not that you will remember it!). How’s the head?! Xxx


1653
BEN: Err yep! Have apologised to Antony for pelting him with Tomatoes. You get home ok? Xx


20:00
ELLIE: Just went to Hen’s to pick up my champagne glasses. I had to explain to her why the balcony was covered in tomatoes. Yes got home and was tucked in bed before 2am! A new record! Would be great if you could work on Ec. Our chat last night basically was about how many people he’s fallen out with. I don’t want to be one of them. Also I promise I would be a fun guest at his country house… regardless I’d like him as a friend, now I’m single, 22 ½ and older and wiser xx


21:28
BEN: Will try wouldn’t be too hopeful though. Xx


21:30
ELLIE: I think I just probably just need to do a grown up and pacifying reply to his not very-nice email. Don’t worry, but it would be good to have you on side. Can’t turn back the hands of time, but it takes two to tango. Xx


21:31
BEN: Love the mixed metaphors! Shall give it a shot for you. xx



January 2nd 2013

20:08
ELLIE: Actually please scrap that. I can’t do it. Thank you anyway. xx


UNQUOTE






Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Meeting my criminal defence lawyers

The day after I was released I went to a shop and bought a new mobile phone and sim card and started to tell my friends and other family members what had happened. It was better that it came from me, than hearing things via the grapevine. I needed to tell them myself so I could set the record straight. They were shocked.

Worse was having to tell my work colleagues and people that knew me less well. I was stressed out and people needed to know what was going on. You could see it in my eyes, I could hardly concentrate on anything. Whenever anyone tried to engage me in conversation I would be lost in thought thinking about the rape allegations.

On the 8th January I met with my defence lawyers at Hodge Jones and Allen, who I had never met before. Until now I had just spoken to the lawyer who only attends police stations. I asked them how much it would cost to defend a typical rape case and they said up to £100,000 if it went to trial and that this process could take nine months. If found guilty I was looking at five years in prison.

I need to find evidence that could prove my innocence.

I didn't really have any evidence in my defence though. I was beyond stressed. I really thought that there was a very serious chance that I might get sent to prison, for something that I didn't do.

That evening, after leaving the lawyers, I spent several hours driving around between Kings Rd and High Street Kensington noting the various CCTV cameras and trying to remember the exact route that Eleanor and I drove on the 24th December. I also parked my car and walked around Kensington Town hall and High Street Kensington looking at the different cameras, and the different different angles, to see if one could have captured us.

I found some bank camera's on High Street Kensington that pointed to the pavement. I also walked around Kings Rd and Paultons Square, examining the area between my flat and Tesco and also the area around Paultons Square. By the time I got home it was the early hours of the morning.

My search for evidence was became an obsession. I needed to find evidence. Fast.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Granted bail

In the UK you don't usually have to pay a surety for bail like in America. If they think you might abscond they usually remand you in custody, there isn't really an in-between. Most people are granted bail unless its a violent offence like murder.

At 8pm I was told I had been granted conditional bail and signed a few forms in front of DC Dial. He told me not to contact Eleanor, and that I had to spend every night in my flat and notify the police of intentions of travel.

He also told me that they had been to my flat and not taken anything. The police gave me back my possessions that I had given them the day before in the police station, apart from my phone, and DC Dial showed me the way out of the police station and told me where I was.

I walked all the way back from Nottinghill back to my flat in Chelsea, about 3 or 4 miles. I needed the fresh air. I just could not believe what had just happened. I remember walking past various pubs and bars on my way home. It was Saturday night. People were relaxing and having fun. I felt like an alien. I was now on bail and a rape suspect.

I wanted to speak to someone about what had happened but had no phone and no phone numbers on me. The police had seized it. When I arrived at my flat an hour later I plugged in my land line telephone and called my father. It was 9pm and wasn’t sure if he was still awake.

He answered and I told him that it was nice to hear his voice. He asked me if I was alright and then no words came out of my mouth for about 30 to 60 seconds. I completely broke down and couldn't even talk. He was very worried and kept asking what was wrong but I couldn't even answer I was so upset. I couldn’t physically do it. I was utterly exhausted and shattered from the whole experience.

Eventually my voice came back and I then started to explain that “the girl” who I'd told him about over Christmas period had accused me of rape and that I had been in police custody for 26 hours. I was so relieved that I had told him full details of my time with Eleanor over the Christmas period, because it meant that he immediately understood what had happened. That night my father and stepmother did not sleep at all. They were awake all night and very upset.

Police interview under caution

When the interview commenced I was absolutely shattered from lack of sleep and so was my lawyer. I was in no state to be interviewed. I had been in custody since yesterday and awake for 30 plus hours. I could hardly think clearly. I decided I would write short prepared statement that would be read out and then stay silent during the rest of the interview.

Making a prepared statement and staying silent is a very common thing in police interviews.

It is worth noting that before the interview under caution you are allowed to meet with your solicitor for as long as you need in a private room. My solicitor was writing everything down I was telling him. If this case went to trail I could always bring those notes out in court to show jury that I hadn't changed my story and that my lawyer wrote everything down before the interview had started.

What I didn't want though was to be interviewed by two experienced police interrogators who could twist my every word around and make me sound guilty, especially that I was so tired and could hardly even think straight. Many innocent people have been convicted based on their interviews alone. The police are not there to help you, they are not your friend.

In front of me were the two officers on the other side of the table. To my right was my solicitor (if you can call him that). Quite frankly he wasn't very good. But he knew more about the law than I did. I just knew I was innocent and the victim of this entire situation.

During the interview my lawyer read out my prepared statement and DC Dial started to ask the questions followed by DC Denton who were both sitting in front of me. Then it went back to DC Dial to finish the questioning. They were talking to me as if i was a rapist; it was as if they had already decided I had raped Eleanor.

They also tried several techniques to get me talking, and to trip me up, asking me some casual questions as if the interview had stopped when it clearly hadn't.

Another time I laughed when they asked me if I had tried to drown Eleanor using a water boarding technique which I found so absurd I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

The interview was however not funny at all and was an exhausting process. It was actually very stressful to have two officers interviewing me asking me such person questions and alledging that I had done the worst thing a man can do to a woman – rape.

Towards the end of the interview they asked me for my Facebook account details which I gave them. They also told me that they were seizing my phone.

When the interview was over the officers disappeared and came back a few minutes later with my keys and told me that they were now going to search my flat.

Before the interview, because I had been in custody for so long I had to sign a form that would allow the officers to hold me in custody for a further 12 hours - which would mean a total of 36 hours.

After the interview, when they went to search my flat I really didn't know if I would have to spend another night in the cell. I also didn't know about bail and thought that I would have to raise money for it. I spent a few more hours in the cell knowing that strangers were going through all of my personal possessions in my flat. It was awful think about. I had no idea how long it would take, and no-one told me how long it would be until I was released or if I would be released at all.


Click here for the full transcript of Police Interview Under Caution.



Typical police interview room

Friday, 4 January 2013

Taken into custody

We arrived at Nottinghill Police Station about 15 minutes later and went through a formal process before I was officially taken into custody, at the counter, where I was asked quite a lot of standard questions. All of my possessions were taken from me. Even scraps of paper were taken off me, my belt, my bag all my money was counted out and noted. They went through the contents of my bag and noted it. Every single item I had was noted and I had to sign a few electronic forms.

They asked me quite a lot of questions about my medical history and other standard questions. And they told me my rights. I was given the opportunity to give them the telephone number of a lawyer which I did, but did not have the chance to speak to her, they would notify her for me.

I was unfamiliar with being taken into custody and it was all quite a shock. I was taken to a room where some photographs were taken of my face, some head on, some from the profile. They also took some DNA from inside my cheek.

I was then taken to a special room to be finger printed where they scanned every finger individually, my palms and then my whole hand.

I was shown to a cell. The policeman told me if I needed anything to ring the buzzer and that otherwise he would come back when they had spoken to the lawyer. He then closed the door and I was locked inside the cell.

I just could not believe what was happening. It was Friday night and here I was locked inside a police cell. No one even knew I was here. The room was blank and there absolutely nothing to do apart from think. I didn't even have a clock or any means of telling the time.

The time ticked by and an officer came and I was handed the phone to a lawyer at Hodge Jones and Allen (by the way this law firm are not very good I would not use them again) who said someone would come from the firm to speak to me. I was shown back to the cell. After quite a long time a police officer came and told me my lawyer had arrived and I then went to a room and spoke to him in private.

From the time I went into the cell to the time I met the lawyer I think a few hours had passed and I spent most of the time walking around the cell in circles, just thinking. I was thinking of any evidence I had to prove my innocence. I ran through the time I spent with Ellie over and over again.

All I had were the messages on my phone and some emails. There was not really much evidence to help at all. I was very angry at her allegation but at the same time thinking of every conceivable solution to prove my innocence. I kept running the story through my head over and over again. That's all I thought about.

During the conversation with my lawyer in the police station, the police officers knocked on the door and then told us that they had to go home and that I would have to be interview in the morning and that I would have to spend the night there.

My lawyer also decided to resume things in the morning as it was quite late.

I was shown back to my cell and didn't sleep at all. I had been accused of rape and I was now in a cell and unable to speak to anybody. Shortly afterwards I asked if I could make a phone call to a friend and was taken to the police station counter. The officers retrieved my mobile phone but didn’t let me hold it, I told them who I wanted to call. They looked him up on phone and  dialled the number on the police station phone.

I didn't want to call my parents as there was little they could do, however I did want to speak to someone, for the sake of my sanity. My friend was familiar with the situation so far and was also spending the weekend with two other friends, which is why I choose him. I called him, but it went to answer phone and I left him a message, which unfortunately he didn't even realise I had left until days later.

I went back to my cell where I tried to get some sleep but couldn't. During my time in the cell the police officers were kind enough to bring me food, water and tea. Unfortunately this also meant that i had to use the cell toilet which is in full view of the peep hole and a camera on the top of the cell. There was no toilet paper and I had to ask a police officer for some toilet paper. There was no toilet seat either but I had to use it and do a no.2 not knowing who was watching. Being accused of rape was shocking and very stressful, but the combination being locked up in a cell also and not knowing what was going to happen next was especially frightening and humiliating.

There was no morning. I was awake all night long. I tried to sleep but couldn't. Every few hours a new police officer would come and check on me and ask if everything was ok, all I wanted to know was what time it was. I had no watch. My sense of time was all over the place. I was extremely disorientated.

It was 8am and I had been awake and not been home for 24hrs. I asked police officer if there was somewhere to wash and was taken out of the cell to a small sink near the police station counter where I took my top off and washed my face chest and arms with toilet paper soaked in water and soap in full view of many other officers and people waiting who were walking past. It was not very pleasant to wash in front of them all.

I returned to my cell where I stayed for several hours until my lawyer arrived at  4pm.

By the time my lawyer arrived I was absolutely exhausted. I had been awake since 8am on Friday and now it was  4pm Saturday. I spent the next couple of hours with him.

My lawyer was also exhausted. He told me that he had some emergency calls in the middle of the night and had only had about two hours sleep.

When we were writing my prepared statement he was so tired he couldn’t even spell correctly. He asking me how to spell the word unconscious that's how exhausted he was. He wrote it out three times on a scrap of paper to reassure himself that he had the correct spelling. When he had written it all out he then asking me if I thought if the statement was alright and did we cover everything? I couldn't believe what iI was hearing. The lawyer was asking me for advice, yet I have no idea to handle these situations. 

The situation seemed to go from bad to worse.

Nottinghill Police Station
Notting Hill Police Station, where I was later interviewed

The day of my arrest

It was Friday and I was agitated. Last night I found out more precisely what  Elie had been saying to my friends. That I had drugged and raped her and wouldn't let her escape from my flat. One of my friends even said they were considering ending our friendship. The rumours were spreading like wildfire.

I thought I would contact her father first of all. Perhaps he could talk some sense into her. I had his number on my phone from when she called him. So I sent him the following text:


QUOTE

03-01-2013 13:18


Dear Mr de Freitas. hello it's Alexander Economou here. Your wife called me the other night and i was wondering if you could give me her phone number as I would like to pass on some more information. many thanks. Alexander



03-01-2013 13:22



Or an email address?


UNQUOTE


I wait an hour and I did not hear back from him. So I sent Ellie the following email:


QUOTE

From: Alexander Economou
Date: Friday, 4 January 2013 at 13:34
To: Eleanor de Freitas
Subject: <no subject>

Dear Ellie,


I have met with a lawyer this morning with regards to your spreading of false stories and discussed the options available. I have also had extensive talks with zzzz zzzz, zzzz and your mother. From what I have seen and heard from them and others you have accused me of drugging you, you have told them that I regularly drug and assault other girls, you also state that I that use prostitutes, that I imprisoned you, and that I assaulted you etc. You have also said that you would pass my information to others.

This is now a very serious matter. You have spread lies about me to intentionally injure me and damage and stress is being caused. What you have done comes under both criminal law and civil law. In criminal law and the malicious communications act you could be jailed for 6 months for what you have just done. If you continue to lie e.g. to the police and pervert the course of justice, (as you suggested to zzzz and zzzz) then that carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. In civil defamation law you would have financial sanctions and injunctions imposed against you, however I have advised against this at the moment and to leave this for a later date.

Since the only option is the criminal route then, this evening I intend to visit Chelsea police station and file a report against you. That way all the facts are officially on the record. I will pass on all evidence, including all text, fb, messages, statements that others have made, details of all my phone calls with you and third parties, copies of messages from you that others have forwarded to me, the photograph of you and the madam etc. I will also visit Ann Summers and Harrods to get the names of the shop attendants and pass on their names to police as witnesses, as well as passing the names of my friends who you have lied to. And a full report of our evening and day together in every detail.

Alternatively you will contact every person you have lied to, you will retract your lies and tell them the truth and do everything in your power to repair the damage you have caused. If you fix the situation yourself then I can have no legal issues against you and the problem will go away. 

I would urge you to do this right now, because as soon as I leave the office tonight I will take the 14 bus straight to Chelsea Police to file the report, unless I hear otherwise.

Alexander


UNQUOTE


At 5pm I had not heard anything from Ellie or her dad David de Freitas. I call the Police and decide to report her for harassment. I call 101 and make enquiries about harassment. I tell them that Ellie has been making malicious lies to my friends and they suggest I make a full statement at the Police Station.

At 535pm I call David de Freitas one more time before I go to the Police Station. There is no answer. So I leave a voicemail telling him that his daughter is spreading lies about me and that I will be attending the police station.

At 6:15pm I bump into a friend near Chelsea police station and tell him I'm going to file a report of harassment against this crazy girl who's been making all these accusations about me. He tells me it happened to a friend of his.

At 6:25pm I arrive at Chelsea Police Station. I start to explain what's been going on and the officer at the front desk searches on the system to find my initial report I made on the telephone. He looks at the computer and asks me to wait in the briefing room opposite the front desk and closes the door. After 5 minutes he opens the door. There are two police offers standing there with their arms crossed.

"Is your name Alexander Economou", one of them asks?

"Yes", I reply.

"Do you a woman called Eleanor de Freitas" , he asks.

"Yes that's the woman I want to make a report about, I called earlier", I say in slight confusion.

There's a silence of five seconds as the officer takes a deep breathe and says: "We've had a report that you invited Eleanor de Freitas for dinner then gave her a drink or a pill, then she doesn't remember anything until she wakes up tied to a bed with semen dripping from her vagina, therefore we're arresting you for rape."

I couldn't believe it. I went silent for thirty seconds and my legs turn to jelly. I told the officers who arrest me that I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I was in total shock. You could have knocked me over with a feather.

They ask me if I have ever been arrested before to which I tell them no and they say, "Well it's a bit of a formal process I'm afraid, we're going to take you  to Notting Hill Police Station for questioning".

A few minutes later I was put into to the back of a custody van and driven to Notting Hill Police
Station.

Chelsea police station
Chelsea Police Station, where I was arrested.




Thursday, 3 January 2013

Ellie apologises to me

I speak to my friend Tina on the phone.

During this 20 minute phone call to Tina I find out the extent of Ellie's lies. That's all we speak about. The lies are so awful, that Tina even admits that she was avoiding me and intended not to see me again because of what Ellie has told her. Until now it was unclear what Ellie had been alleging but now it was crystal clear. I am beyond angry at this stage.

Ellie has been going round to my friends is imply that I raped her. Shortly after this phone call I receive an email from Ellie saying:


QUOTE


From: Eleanor de Freitas
Date: Thursday, 3 January 2013 at 18:07
To: Alexander Economou
Subject: <no subject>

I'm going to say it now, so I never have to regret not saying it, or not saying how I feel about you: I'm sorry for any trouble that I have caused you. I really miss the old Alex, and I hope I will talk to / bump into him someday.


'Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.'

Sydney J Harris


I wish you love, luck, happiness and friendship.


UNQUOTE


But it's too late the damage has been done. Rumours are now spreading around my friends and she needs to be stopped. She is delusional, we are definitely not getting back together. I speak to another friend that evening and she tells me that Ellie has been threatening to go to the police. I contact lawyers and seek advice. I want this to stop. I want these lies to stop spreading around my friends. I am fuming with anger.

It's been almost 10 days of lies and I have had enough. Tomorrow I am going to take legal action.