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Firefighter slams police after wrongful rape conviction

A High Court judge has slammed police for ignoring key evidence after a retired firefighter was wrongly convicted of raping a 14-year-old boy.

David Bryant spent three years locked up in prison after he was convicted of a sex attack at a fire station in Christchurch in 1977.

The 67-year-old’s conviction was quashed in 2016 after it emerged that the complainant Danny Day was a fantasist who had sought medical help for lying. 

Now a High Court hearing has heard that police ignored a blackmail note sent by the accuser in which he threatened to make Mr Bryant pay ‘one way or another’.

David Bryant and his wife Lynn outside the Royal Courts of Justice

Mr Bryant (left) revealed that his wife Lynn (right, together outside the Royal Courts of Justice in 2016), who died from sepsis six months after his release, had told police about the letter

The 67-year-old's conviction was quashed in 2016 after it emerged that the complainant Danny Day (pictured) was a fantasist who had sought medical help for lying

The 67-year-old’s conviction was quashed in 2016 after it emerged that the complainant Danny Day (pictured) was a fantasist who had sought medical help for lying

The letter, which was left on Bryant's doorstep on October 20, 2012, signed by Day, read: 'I think it is time you and me have a chat

After seeing the letter on which police failed to act upon, Master Thornett said: 'This would not strike any reasonable person as anything other than a blackmail note'

The letter, which was left on Bryant’s doorstep on October 20, 2012, signed by Day, read: ‘I think it is time you and me have a chat’

The judge ordered Mr Day to pay an interim payment of £20,000 towards the costs of Bryant’s civil action against him. 

Mr Bryant revealed that his wife Lynn, who died from sepsis six months after his release, had told Dorset Police about the letter, put officers failed to act.

He said: ‘An apology would be nice from Dorset Police but they have not admitted they have made any mistakes.

‘When we got the letter, my first reaction was to contact police but they dismissed it.

‘Instead of investigating Danny Day for blackmail, they investigated me for historic sex abuse. Lynn reported this as a blackmail threat but they ignored it.

‘It can’t be proved that this contributed to her death but the stress certainly played a part. I am pleased that we have now got this judgement.

‘The judgement has been given near the anniversary of her death. She would be pleased we have finally got it.’

David Bryant (pictured outside the High Court) spent three years locked up in prison after he was convicted of a sex attack at a fire station in Christchurch in 1977

David Bryant (pictured outside the High Court) spent three years locked up in prison after he was convicted of a sex attack at a fire station in Christchurch in 1977

The High Court heard that Mr Day, of Bromley in Kent, had made ‘false allegations… to seek personal attention and drama’.

Master Thornett said a psychiatrist revealed he had ‘extensive recorded medical history of his self-reporting as a liar’ but this was not presented at the original trial.

The judge added that Mr Day’s motivation in raising the allegation ‘came to be based upon a desire to claim compensation from David Bryant and the state’.

After seeing the letter on which police failed to act upon, Master Thornett said: ‘This would not strike any reasonable person as anything other than a blackmail note. It is clearly threatening.’

The letter, which was left on Bryant’s doorstep on October 20, 2012, signed by Day, read: ‘I think it is time you and me have a chat.

‘I think it is in your interest to call. One way or another you will pay for what you done in late 76, early 77.’ 

Mr Bryant took his case to the High Court this year as he sought a judgement which explicitly confirmed his innocence of attacking Mr Day.

The previous judgement in the Court of Appeal in 2016 had quashed his conviction, simply deeming it to be ‘unsafe’.

Mrs Bryant enlisted the help of private investigators and barrister Rupert Butler, who uncovered a number of false claims made by Day.

After his conviction was quashed in the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Leveson told Mr Bryant: ‘You are free to go. I am very sorry, Mr Bryant.’

After her husband's imprisonment, Mrs Bryant (shown left) enlisted the help of investigators and barrister Rupert Butler, who uncovered a number of false claims made by Day

After her husband’s imprisonment, Mrs Bryant (shown left) enlisted the help of investigators and barrister Rupert Butler, who uncovered a number of false claims made by Day

Mr Bryant (pictured with his wife) took his case to the High Court this year as he sought a judgement which explicitly confirmed his innocence of attacking Mr Day

Mr Bryant (pictured with his wife) took his case to the High Court this year as he sought a judgement which explicitly confirmed his innocence of attacking Mr Day

Despite the conviction being quashed Mr Day continued with a civil claim but stopped turning up to court hearings and it was revoked.

Mr Bryant decided to launch a counter-claim, not for money but to secure factual declarations from the court about what had happened.

Speaking about his wife’s battle to prove his innocence, Mr Bryant added: ‘It can’t be proved that this contributed to her death but the stress certainly played a part.

‘The judgement has been given near the anniversary of her death. She would be pleased we have finally got it.’

Mr Day, who first reported the alleged attack to police in 2012, waived his right to anonymity in a series of newspaper interviews after the original conviction.

Among the many lies he told was that he had a boxing record which bettered that of Muhammed Ali.

He even falsely claimed to have given up his place in the Great Britain boxing team at the 1984 Olympics due to the trauma caused by Mr Bryant’s assault. 

A Dorset Police spokesman said: ‘Dorset Police takes any allegations of sexual abuse very seriously and conducted a thorough and detailed investigation.

‘The force has deep sympathy for Mr Bryant and his family who have endured his imprisonment for a conviction that has been found to be unsafe.’

Mr Bryant took his case to the High Court this year as he sought a judgement which explicitly confirmed his innocence of attacking Mr Day

Mr Bryant took his case to the High Court this year as he sought a judgement which explicitly confirmed his innocence of attacking Mr Day



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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