When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Blackburn teen’s prison hell on false rape charge
1:51pm Thursday 10th October 2013 in News
A TEENAGER has spoken of his nine-month hell in jail awaiting trial after being accused of rape and kidnap.
Daniel Rakestraw was freed on Tuesday after being cleared by a jury of tying a 16-year-old girl to his bed and attacking her.
The jury took just 30 minutes to clear him of four charges of rape, one of kidnap and another of imprisonment.
The 19-year-old, from Revidge Road, Blackburn, said he was abused by other prisoners and put in isolation for his own safety during his stay in HM Prison Preston.
He had been told no bail hostel could be found for him.
He said: “It was horrible. I wasn’t treated like I was innocent, I was treated like any other prisoner.
“I got put in isolation because my name was in the paper. I was treated like I had done something wrong.
“On the way to court I was separated in the van. The other prisoners were shouting out ‘where’s that nonce, where’s the rapist?’ I’m just happy to be out of there.”
Mr Rakestraw was arrested last November and initially bailed to his mum’s home in Bournemouth, but he was re-arrested when it was discovered he was living with his 14-year-old sister.
He said: “The judge apologised for remanding me and said if they could find a bail hostel outside Lancashire I could stay there, but they couldn’t. I’m not sure how hard they looked.
“I can understand why the police were worried because my accuser said she was scared of me, but they could have put me somewhere in the south. I was crushed. The whole world was put on my shoulders.”
During his trial, the court heard Mr Rakestraw stopped his motorbike when he saw the alleged victim walking near the Raj restaurant in Bolton Road, Blackburn, with two friends.
He took her to the house where his father was staying and was alleged to have attacked her. The defence said the girl had gone willingly.
Mr Rakestraw said: “It only took the jury half an hour to call a verdict. When I heard ‘not guilty’ I was shaking and crying with relief.
“When they said it, a few members of the jury looked at me and nodded, as if to say, ‘you’re welcome’.”
Mr Rakestraw’s grandmother, Gwen Clarke, called for defendants accused of sex offences to be granted anonymity until they are proven guilty, and is worried whether her grandson would ever be able to return to Blackburn.
The 60-year-old said: “The alleged victim has to remain anonymous, which is right, but so should the accused. But we got him home, and that’s the main thing.”
Comments are closed on this article.