A man suspected of raping a 17-year-old girl has not been identified for five years after a Met Police medical examiner ‘unduly delayed’ the investigation, a court has heard.
Ursula Collins appeared at Southwark Crown Court on Monday accused of ‘knowingly neglecting her duties’ and failing to keep exhibits properly.
The 43-year-old from Mitcham, south London, has pleaded not guilty to eight counts of misconduct in public service.
She is currently suspended from her duties.
The charges relate to offenses committed between September 2009 and March 2018, involving work related to the investigation of five separate allegations of rape, one of impaired driving, a robbery and a shooting.
Jurors heard that in a case involving the rape of a 17-year-old girl, a suspect was identified following a re-examination of DNA analysis of her underwear and a sanitary napkin.
However, that only happened after a review of the case in March 2018, years after they were first sent to the lab in November 2012.
Prosecutor Deanna Heer KC told the court, “At this time, more than five years after the complaint was filed, the complainant was no longer willing to assist the police.”
The jury was told that in another alleged rape, another scientist had taken over the case and by the time a DNA match was found, the suspect had left the country and the Crown had dismissed the case.
Ms Heer said that in a third separate rape case, a DNA profile matching the description of the suspect given by the complainant was found on a pair of leggings first sent to the lab in 2012, but only after being submitted again for analysis in 2018.
At that point, the victim no longer supported the investigation due to the passage of time, the jury heard.
The court also heard that in a shooting case, a detective requested a DNA test of a gas can and gloves in 2010 in a bid to identify anyone who had handled them, but a match was not obtained. only after Ms Collins was suspended in 2018.
“People actively misled”
Ms Heer described Ms Collins as a “qualified and experienced” forensic scientist who played a “key role” in the investigation of the crime.
The prosecutor told the court: “The prosecution’s case is not that Ursula Collins intentionally or deliberately attempted to obstruct justice or pervert police investigations of criminal offences.
“The prosecution’s case is that she knowingly neglected her duties as a notification officer and, in some cases, actively misled others, knowing that by doing so she risked misconduct. and thereby undermine the integrity of police investigations into delinquency.”
“Knowingly took risks”
Ms Heer added: ‘She has unduly delayed investigations and created a clear and significant risk to the integrity of these criminal investigations.’
“She knew very well the possible consequences for the administration of justice if she did not carry out her duties properly; the risk that the perpetrator of a crime would not be identified; or, indeed, the risk that “A delay means that victims would lose confidence in the investigation and refuse to support it,” she continued.
“And yet, according to the prosecution, she knowingly took this risk.”
The trial continues.