Saturday, 5 January 2013

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.


Below is the full transcript of my interview under caution:


==== START OF INTERVIEW ====


DC DIAL: This conversation is being tape-recorded. My name is DC Philip Dial attached to SCD2 at Fulham Police Station. The other officer is?



DC DENTON: I'm DC Denton, and I'm attached to the same unit.



DC DIAL: We’re in the interview room at Notting Hill Police Station. The date’s 5 January 2013, and the time now is … 4.35pm. Can you just introduce yourself, please? Introduce yourself.



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: Alexander Economou.



DC DIAL: Okay. And what’s your current home address?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: [redacted].



DC DIAL: Thank you. And also present is …?



SOLICITOR: [REDACTED], legal representative here on behalf of Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors.



DC DIAL: Okay. While you’re at the police station you’re entitled to legal advice – that's free, independent legal advice – which you've already had. If at any time during this interview you want a further consultation, you can stop the interview at any time; just tell me, and we will turn the tapes off and leave the room. Do you understand?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: Okay.



DC DIAL: You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mentioned when questioned something which you may later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence. That basically means we’re going to ask you some questions in relation to the offence that you've been arrested for. You don’t have to answer those questions. You can sit there and say nothing if you wish.



However, if you are charged with a criminal offence and you appeal in court, the court will ask the same or similar questions -- they will want answers to the same or similar questions that the police are going to ask you. And they may draw an inference if you haven’t -- if you decide to say nothing when you could have reasonably given an account at the police station. They could draw an adverse inference.



Again, if you give an account and that account changes at a later date, it’s only common sense that -- you know, which account do you believe? Do you believe the account given at the police station or the one given in court? That's just something you've got to be aware of. And anything that's said during this interview can be either listened to or read from a transcript in the court, okay? That’s basically what the police caution means.



I'm going to just very quickly just say that you've been arrested on suspicion of the rape of a female. I believe you know the female involved. Do you know her name?



SOLICITOR: Sorry, can I read out a statement on his behalf?



DC DIAL: He's prepared a statement?



SOLICITOR: Yeah; please.



DC DIAL: Okay.



SOLCITOR: “I, Alexander Economou, further to having been advised, wish to submit this prepared statement and give a no-comment interview. I vehemently deny sexually assaulting or raping Eleanor De Freitas on 23 December 2012. I deny giving her a pill that would have led to her being unconscious. Any sexual contact between us was consensual. She was sober, alert and fully aware of everything going on. The allegation is totally baseless and false. I believe she is making this allegation for various reasons. I deny falsely imprisoning her at my flat at any stage.”



And it’s signed and dated.



DC DIAL: Okay; this is -- is this your prepared statement?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: Yes.



DC DIAL: Right. We obviously still have to -- there are still lots of things that are unanswered … so I have to ask you questions. The idea of the police interview is to give you an opportunity to… respond to the allegation that's been made. Now … how long have you known this girl …



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: … Eleanor, is it; Eleanor? You talk about … 23 December; can you tell me what you did on 23 December?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: Who you were with that day, where you were …?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: Every answer will be no comment.



DC DIAL: Quite clearly, we obviously -- we've disclosed a fact, and you've been advised in relation to -- the allegation is that you've gone to your flat with Eleanor. Was there anybody else there; any other witnesses there?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: And she’s feeling unwell, and she was given a pill and a drink. Can you tell me what that pill was?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: Have you got pills at your address?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: Okay; well, we will be searching the address. Have you got any pills that you shouldn’t have at the address? Have you got any illegal substances?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: Any class A drugs that you shouldn’t have?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: Right. What did you give her to drink?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: And she said that she was tied up. Can you tell me how she was tied up --



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: -- where she was tied up --



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: -- what led up to that? Have you had a sexual relationship with her before?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: Was she naked when she was tied up?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: Were you naked?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: You’ve said that, “Any sexual contact between us was consensual”. Does that imply that there was sexual contact between you?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: I'm not trying to catch you out or anything. I've got to ask you these questions; as I explained, you know, these are questions that need answers, really, and it’s a matter for you whether you answer them or not.



You said she was sober. Did you have any alcohol? Did you see her drink any alcohol that day? Did you give her any alcohol?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: Did you have any?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: If so, how much?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: (no audible response)



DC DIAL: You’re saying that the allegation is totally baseless and false; can you tell me why you believe --



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: -- it’s baseless and false?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: But you believe she's making the allegation up “for various reasons”. What are those reasons?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: You deny falsely imprisoning her in your flat at any stage. She's implied that she was tied up and … she wanted to make a phone call to her father. Can you tell me about that?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: Was there an altercation at the time? Was there anything going on?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: Why did she want to ring her father?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: Did you have … vaginal sex with her?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: Oral sex?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: Anal sex?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: Any digital penetration?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



(16 seconds of silence)



DC DIAL: On -- when you went to the police station, obviously we’ve listened to -- and you’ve -- have you seen this disclosure that we’ve given your legal advisor?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: You can say yes if you’ve seen --



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: Right; on the disclosure there's a transcript of a voice message that was left by you on the complainant’s father’s mobile telephone yesterday at 17.38.



“Hello, my name is Alexander. Sorry to bother you, but your daughter’s been making a lot of false accusations and allegations about me. Some of them are very serious. Right now I'm on my way to Chelsea police station to file an official report. Sorry if this comes as a bit of a shock, but I know Ellie is a little fragile, but actually I -- I'm the victim of the whole thing, and I’ll have no mercy and I will do everything to prosecute Ellie for her allegations.”



What are the allegations that she's been making against you?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: Do you want to tell me what’s gone on, because clearly something has gone on?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: You've gone on to say that you want to go to the police and explain that Ellie has been saying things, but you haven’t actually said in the message what she said or what she's alleged to have said. And you said that you want the -- you want to go to the police so they can make a record of what’s happened, but you haven’t actually told the police what it’s all about, have you?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: Do you want to tell us what it’s all about?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



(31 seconds of silence)



DC DIAL: Have you spoken to anybody else about this?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: Any of your friends?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: Were there -- are there any other witnesses to what Ellie might have said?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: I think what you need to appreciate is that we’re … We have to look at things with an open mind. We don’t just investigate what she’s saying; we have to look at what you’re saying as well, and at the moment you haven’t really said a lot. The prepared statement, you know, is there; there's nothing -- there's no detail in there at all. You know, you’re denying any sexual assault, but you haven’t really gone further than that. And there's clearly an issue between you and her, and do you not think it might help if you told us what that was?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



(22 seconds of silence)



DC DIAL: Have you anything to say at all?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: Okay. Anything?



DC DENTON: Okay; I mean, how do you feel about what’s happened? How do you feel about the whole situation between the two of you?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: Okay; I mean, you’re interested in psychology, aren’t you? Is that true?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: I mean one of the things that’s said is that you’re actually writing a psychology book, and this is how it all started, with you doing dictations and her listening to them. Can you tell me about that? Is that what happened at the start?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: Okay; what do you think is the, sort of -- the psychology of your relationship with each other?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: Would you like to tell me anything about this that might actually help you at all?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: A bit of an insight into you or to her?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: Okay. What happened as the evening progressed; can you just tell me a little bit about it at all?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: How did the mood change? Did it change from good to bad, or was it not particularly good to start with?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: Are you generally into, sort of, S&M-type activity, or is that something that's quite unusual for you?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: Is that, sort of -- your main sort of pleasure would be that kind of, sort of, fantasy?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: Is that what this was on this occasion?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: Okay; why would you, you know, do such things to her, as in restraining her and tying her up? What do you get out of that?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: Is this something you always wanted to do but never had the chance to, or is this something you have had the chance to do before?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: Does she seem like someone that would enjoy it?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: Because she says during this she was crying and very upset, clearly not enjoying the situation. Did you notice that she was very upset?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: And based on her account I don’t see how you could not notice. And how does it make you feel that she was crying and being restrained? And obviously she is quite -- from everything she says, she's got these problems, there's vulnerabilities there, and she's quite -- a person that has all these problems. And did you get off actually sort of dominating her and causing her to cry? What I'm saying is: is this who you are? Is this your personality?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: How would you describe yourself, then, as a person? Would you say you’re a caring person, a good person …?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: Okay. She mentions as well that you did things like, sort of, covering her in, sort of, plastic and saying things like, “I bet you love this kinky shit”, even though she clearly wasn’t enjoying the situation. Did you say that to her?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: You laughed then; so, are you laughing because -- why are you laughing? What’s funny about this?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: Did you say, “I bet you love this kinky shit”, at all?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: She also says that you used code words and told her there was a code word but she didn’t understand what you were talking about. Is that something you do?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: Have you ever done that with her before?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: What happened -- did the two of you -- after the two of you had sex, what happened? What was the sort of situation between you like; what was the mood?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: She says that there was sex between the two of you; there was some sex. Possibly she says it was on the bed and the sofa, but she says it was possibly unprotected; she believes it was. Would you be able to tell me about that?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: She says at some point you used massage oils on her and some got spilt on the floor, and you became extremely angry about this. She said that you became, sort of, unreasonably angry about a spillage on the floor. I mean, was this something -- are you very controlling?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: Did you do this to her, and did you shout at her and, sort of -- as she puts it, she says, “He went mental about it”?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: She says that she made a comment about the mattress looking expensive, and, “He said it was -- probably was -- it probably was expensive, as he is super-rich”. Is that something you said to her?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: Did you feel quite a lot of power over her, would you say?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: Did you ejaculate at any stage?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: She says you did ejaculate and you ejaculated on her. Do you have anything to say about that at all?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: Okay. She later says that there's a period whereby she doesn’t remember what’s happened, she wakes up and she feels that potentially she's had sex again at this stage. I mean, did you have sex again with her after this while she was unconscious?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: And by “unconscious” I mean after, sort of, taking a tablet, the whole thing, if she's been under some kind of, you know, medication that you've given to her or some drug. Do you want to tell us anything about that at all?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: She says during the whole incident you said a lot of rather creepy things to her. You said things such as your neighbours were away and there was no one that would be able to hear her scream. Did you say that to her?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: Do you want to tell me whether or not you meant that or whether it was a joke? She says you said it in a jokey way, but, based on what then happened with the tying-up, what was the situation -- what were you doing at that point; why were you saying that to her?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: Also, that you commented that there was builders’ plastic all over the place and saying by having it down she wouldn’t leave any DNA. She's very specific that you said that. Did you say that?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: She also says you didn’t trust her alone in your flat and making reference to a time that she had looked in somebody’s drawers in their flat, which you knew about. Would you be able to tell me about that and how you knew about that?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: Who was that person?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: Okay; why didn’t you trust her in your flat? Did you think she might find something?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: Something that perhaps you wouldn’t like when she found it, because you were hiding it?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: How exactly did you tie her when you tied her up?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: What was she doing as you did?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: I mean, what were you -- did you do with plastic -- did you get a roll of -- she says you got a roll of plastic and wrapped it around her, but how did you do that? Did you do that after you tied her?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: What did you drink during this whole period when you were together? What alcohol did you have?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: She says that -- as well as these tablets she says also -- you got her also a Moscow Mule vodka and ginger ale. You also said you’d got expensive vodka called Bison vodka … and she says it didn’t taste particularly nice, not like expensive vodka when she's had it before. So, you’re giving her quite a few drinks here from what she's saying. Were you trying to get her drunk?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: Were you trying to give some sort of substance to her in the drinks; anything like that?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: Were you drinking -- she says you didn’t drink the vodka; why didn’t you have a drink when she had one?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: She says that when she wanted to get her phone from outside you said you would have to tie her up with neckties together to make a rope and that you know the best way to tie up a girl. Why did you say that to her?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: And when she says, “He said that he knew the best way to tie up a girl”, is that something that you've -- how have you learnt that? Is that something you've learnt through personal experience, or is that something you've read?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: Is it something you've done before?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: From her account, you’re very focused on the -- sort of, the tying- and the binding-up.  This sort of behaviour -- I mean, where does it come from? Is it something that's been with you always, or -- where does it come from; will you tell me?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DENTON: Okay; well, obviously I've given you an opportunity to answer quite a few questions there from your side of things, and you've declined to do so. We have given you the opportunity, okay? I don’t have any other questions at this time.



DC DIAL: Okay. Your mobile telephone, the one we have here: what is it?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: Okay. Do you want to tell me what’s on that telephone in relation to these allegations that you’re making about her; harassment etc?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: Okay; the telephone will be seized and it will be sent to be examined. There has been some Facebook communication, I understand. Can you tell me what your Facebook logon details are?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: Yes.



DC DIAL: Do you want to tell me what that is?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: Yeah, it is … [redacted]



DC DIAL: E-C- -- trying to spell it somewhere … [redacted].



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: … [redacted]. And the password is … [redacted].



DC DIAL: Is that small?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: That's a letter.



DC DIAL: Is it …?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: It’s all small; everything is small.



DC DIAL: [redacted]?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: Yeah. [redacted] … and that's all small letters.



DC DIAL: Okay. Is there anything else you want to say? You obviously don’t mind me looking at that. What’s on there? What has she said?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment. Actually I might just say one thing.



SOLICITOR Yeah.



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: That there is a historical record of conversation between me and her on Facebook, and it’s in the messages, but I put it in archive, because I wanted to save it, okay? So, if you want to know any of the communication on Facebook between me and Ellie, you go in -- you have to specifically look in “archive” otherwise you can’t find it on the messages, okay?



DC DIAL: And what’s that message about?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: When was it sent? How old is it?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.



DC DIAL: Are there -- were there many messages there? Is it something that we have to look for, or is it obvious that there's a message -- one message saved or a couple of messages saved?


ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.


SOLICITOR: He said a record of conversations, so there's loads of messages. I think that's what he was referring to.


ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: Okay; yeah, there’s -- it’s chat, it’s banter on a messenger service, so there's probably 500 or so exchanges. Yeah.


DC DIAL: Okay. She's also said that you -- at one point you put some water in a jug and poured it all over her head. Did you do that?


ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.


DC DIAL: You called it “water-boarding”.


ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.


DC DIAL: You’re laughing. It’s not really funny, is it? It’s quite a serious thing to say.


ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.


DC DIAL: Did you -- she says she nearly drowned; you poured the water into her mouth, and she couldn’t breathe. Did that happen or not?


ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.


DC DENTON: I mean, you’re laughing at that, but you weren’t laughing at some other things such as tying her up … which is obviously very different. You were laughing at this; this thing about water boarding. Whether you’re sort of laughing because it’s ridiculous but you’re not laughing at the tying-up, anything to do with the taping, or to do with the binding with plastic sheeting, things like that, wrapping it round her -- do you want to explain anything about this at all?



ALEXANDER ECONOMOU: No comment.


DC DENTON: Okay. All right; well, that's your choice, so yeah, I have no other questions.


DC DIAL: I’m going to conclude the interview now. What time is it? Oh, it’s -- sorry, it’s 5.03pm.


==== END OF INTERVIEW ====

Typical police interview room

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