Banburyshire family goes public over drink spiking claims

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The family of a girl who they claim was abducted from an Oxford nightclub by a group of men fear she was slipped a Rohypnol type drug.

And they claim police officers’ lack of attention to the serious concerns of the friends who rescued her were “inexcusable” and “unacceptable”.

The girl is from the Banburyshire area. She was taken by a group of men from an Oxford club to the riverside, the family told the Banbury Guardian.

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Her friends quickly realised she was missing and immediately searched for her, finding her being held up by one of the men.

A glass of wine (Photo by GEORGES GOBET / AFP)        (Photo credit should read GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images) NNL-190105-111552001A glass of wine (Photo by GEORGES GOBET / AFP)        (Photo credit should read GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images) NNL-190105-111552001
A glass of wine (Photo by GEORGES GOBET / AFP) (Photo credit should read GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images) NNL-190105-111552001

Knowing she was not a heavy drinker, they were extremely worried because of her semi-conscious state. They suspected rohypnol or a similar drug had been put in her drink.

It transpired her mobile phone had been left with the door men and the family says they have not been able to look at CCTV footage from the evening.

A family member told the Banbury Guardian: “The police reported that the bar said they’d asked her to leave for being ‘paralytic’.

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“When her friends arrived at the river, they found her with eyes rolling back, not making sense, not recognising them and unable to stand unaided. The leading male was holding onto her under her arms, refusing to let her go.

“One friend explained to the police that she was acting out of character. Despite her displaying signs of being spiked, police didn’t offer a drug test for which there is a very small window of about 12 to 24 hours,” she said.

“They deemed there wasn’t anything crime-worthy and left after quick questioning.

“They seemed to have a shocking normalising attitude; how men go out to have sex, preying on intoxicated girls who can’t consent. It’s inexcusable and unacceptable.

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“A BBC article last December reports ‘No convictions of drink-spiking in last five years’. However a freedom of information request in 2018 by Sky News reveals a 108 per cent rise in spiking since 2015 and it is thought this is only the tip of the iceberg,” said the family member.

“Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault (DFSA) needs highlighting so it doesn’t lead to more rape,” she said.

“She has never drunk so much she can’t remember the night before. This night was different. She remembers being in a bar with her friends and an unwanted male dancing behind her. She then remembers nothing for the next few hours until she came to at her friend’s.”

The girl and her family say the police called to the incident did not treat this with sufficient gravity and treated the situation as a ‘routine’ case of drunkenness. Evidence of such a drug in the woman’s body was not obtained in the short time in which it should have been.

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The family believes lack of adequate action is giving ‘spikers’ licence to repeat their behaviour.

The girl was obviously bruised and had been roughly manhandled. It is believed she was not assaulted sexually but the family believe this is because, fortunately, her friends realised her unexpected disappearance was totally out of character and followed, to find her disorientated, unable to communicate and alone with the gang.

The incident happened soon after midnight on February 2.

Thames Valley Police (TVP) said they received reports about the concern for the welfare of a woman in Oxford, in the company of a man.

“Officers attended and located the woman who was found safe nearby. Officers carried out further enquiries, viewed CCTV (in the club) and spoke to the man whose company she had been in and established no offences had occurred.

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“TVP’s Professional Standards has not received a formal complaint in relation to this matter. TVP takes all reports of complaints seriously. If a member of the public wishes to make a complaint, they can do so by calling 101 or via email [email protected].”