THE POLICE have apologised to a woman from Bodmin for bungling an investigation into allegations that she was raped in the town.
Trudie Dove has fought a long battle to prove she was raped after her drink was spiked with a drug in a local bar and that a botched investigation failed to bring the man responsible to justice.
Now, seven years after the sexual attack is alleged to have taken place, the police have apologised to Mrs Dove for the way detectives handled the inquiry.
The 52-year-old recently took her case to a Criminal Injuries and Compensation tribunal and provided her own documentation as evidence that the investigation was not handled correctly.
In a letter to Mrs Dove, Detective Chief Inspector Ken Lamont admitted that the police had let her down, listing a catalogue of failures.
The force's deputy crime manager for Cornwall told her: "The documentation you were able to provide was very helpful and was able to show that unfortunately the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary failed you with regard to this investigation.
"The papers showed that, specifically, we failed to conduct a press release as requested, failed to follow up on your injuries disclosed to the GU (genitourinary unit), and did not speak to a witness to whom you had shown your injuries."
In the apology, Mr Lamont told Mrs Dove that complaints such as hers were taken seriously and the criminal justice system was working hard at becoming more victim- focused.
Mrs Dove said she had been trying to prove for years that the police investigation into her rape allegation had been a farce and hoped others would not have to go through what she had endured.
"I feel some sort of justice has now been done through the police apology and that my complaints have eventually been taken very seriously.
"I understand the detective who was in charge of the investigation is being sent for further training.
"Above all, I sincerely hope the way the police treated me will not happen today to another woman who reports she has been raped. There are some very good police officers out there who do some sterling work, and I would hope other women will not be put off from reporting rapes because that is what rapists hope will happen.
"The apology has helped enormously.
"It feels like I now have my life back," said Mrs Dove, who thanked MP Dan Rogerson for helping her in the case.
After she made the rape allegation in December 2005, police concluded there was not enough evidence to bring a prosecution.
Last year, a Criminal Injuries and Compensation tribunal panel did not find that, on the balance of probability, Mrs Dove's rape allegations could be proved.
Now, armed with the police letter admitting the investigation was botched, she is hoping another tribunal will come to a different conclusion.