British woman whose father was falsely arrested for raping her in Crete fears attacker will strike
A British woman whose own father was falsely accused of raping her while on holiday in Crete has warned other women visiting the island not to go out alone.
Tammi Forsythe – who bravely waived her right to anonymity – fears her attacker will strike again after a botched police investigation into her terrifying assault by Greek police.
This led to her 62-year-old father being arrested and jailed on suspicion of rape despite her continued protestations that he was completely innocent.
Her father Philip was released earlier this week after DNA tests on her clothing showed he did not carry out the attack while on holiday in the resort of Malia.
Tammi Forsythe – who bravely waived her right to anonymity – fears her attacker will strike again after a botched police investigation into her terrifying assault by Greek police. Pictured: Tammi and her father Philip after his release
The botched police investigation led to Tammi’s 62-year-old father Philip being arrested and jailed on suspicion of rape despite her continued protestations that he was completely innocent
With thousands of British tourists, many of them in their late teens and early 20s expected to flood into the popular destination this summer, Tammi, 33, fears the rapist will strike again.
She said: ’The man who raped me is still out there and my biggest fear is that he will attack again.
‘I would tell any young girl not to be out alone at night. People come here to have a good time, and like me they will get drunk. But they should stay together in a group and hopefully that way they will be safe.
‘The police were convinced my father was the guilty man, despite me saying 1,000 per cent he was not involved and he also protesting his innocence. They did not want to listen.
‘One of the reasons I decided to come forward and be named was because I do not want any other young girl or woman to have to endure what I have.
‘The last few weeks have been so hard. Not only was I raped and will have to live with that but saw my father locked up and accused of being the rapist.’
Mr Forsythe, a father of seven, spent over three weeks in prison while he waited for the DNA test results to show what he and his daughter maintained all along – that he was not involved. The pair had an emotional reunion at the rented apartment in the Crete capital of Heraklion where Tammi has been staying while she waited for her father to be released.
Police were relying on CCTV from a local bar where Mr Forsythe, 62, had been drinking with his daughter before the attack (pictured), that showed the pair being physical with each-other
Mr Forsythe, 62, (pictured with Tammi) spent almost a month in custody but was released from a prison in Tripoli, on the Greek mainland on Wednesday night after DNA samples taken from him proved he was not the attacker
She moved to the island’s capital as staying in Malia, where the rape took place in the early hours of the morning on June 9th, led to her suffering panic attacks.
‘Even though I cannot remember the face of the man who attacked me, just being in the resort was causing panic attacks.
‘I could walk about 200 yards and the just break down. I would look at every man and wonder if it was him,’ she said.
‘I have managed to blot out the assault, but even though I had been drinking heavily remember the events leading up to it and afterwards.’
Tammi has arranged to have counselling at a rape crisis centre when she returns to her home in Hull, East Yorkshire next week.
During her extended stay in Crete which has cost almost £5,000 she has been buoyed by hundreds of messages of support from friends and family who have rallied round.
‘All my brothers and sisters were united in that they knew dad did not do anything to me,’ said Tammi.
‘The support I have had and people saying how brave I have been to speak out the rape has helped me.
‘If there is something good that comes out of me speaking out I will be happy.’
While the rape ordeal and that of prison for her father is never far from their thoughts, father and daughter have been able to relax in the sunshine, taking a stroll in a local park and enjoying the café culture of the island.
But behind their smiles they are seething with anger that the police have not apologised for their mistake.
‘All they said was that ‘Justice had been done’. That was it. No apology for what they put me through or what my father had to suffer in prison,’ said Tammi.
‘They would not listen to me when I told them it wasn’t my father and based their whole investigation on some CCTV.’
The Crete resort town of Malia (above) is a popular holiday destination with Brit tourists flocking to the island every summer
Mr Forsythe, who suffers from diabetes and other health conditions, added: ’When I first saw police, I told them I had told my daughter to report the rape. What person after raping someone tells the victim to report it to the police?’
Tammi a mother of four, said she had not wanted to file a complaint to the police and had planned to return home to Hull immediately. The rape took place just three days into the family holiday – their first since 2018.
They were celebrating Mr Forsyth’s 62 birthday in the resort tthat primarily caters to tourists with clubs, bars and restaurants with distinctly British names such as George and the Dragon and The Red Lion.
‘As far as I was concerned, I just wanted to go home but after my dad said I should go to the police it made sense as it could save another woman from being raped,’ said Tammi.
Her criticism of the Greek police bore similarities to that endured by a 19-year-old British tourist in 2019 who claimed she had been gang raped by Israeli youths while on holiday in Cyprus.
The teen, who had her conviction for making up the attack overturned on appeal, had complained during her trial that she was denied an interpreter and pressured into signing a statement by male officers that was written in Greek.
Tammi said she also was only quizzed by up to five male police officers and asked to sign a statement written in Greek that she believes named her father as the rapist.
‘I refused to sign as I did not understand what the statement said,’ she said. ‘They were telling me to sign, but I am so glad that I held out as it could have made things much worse.’ Greek police maintain that the investigation into the rape is continuing but said that they could not provide any further details. Officials insist that they arrested Mr Forsythe after viewing CCTV footage from the Help bar where they had been drinking in the hours leading up to the attack.
The CCTV footage was obtained by MailOnline and Tammi denied her father did anything wrong, ‘I was drunk out of my head; I could barely move. He was just trying to get me up to take me back to the hotel and put me to bed.
‘I lashed out at him because I was so drunk and angry. At one stage, I think I bit his hand. That’s all the CCTV footage shows-a father trying to help his very drunk daughter. There was nothing sexual going on between us. It’s a disgusting and ridiculous thing to say.’
Tammi told MailOnline that her dream holiday to Crete (pictured) has turned into a nightmare and she is using up her family’s savings to stay there and support her father until she can go home and finally see her own four children again
Captain Sofia Loverdos of Crete police told MailOnline: ‘The investigation will continue but we have nothing to apologise for about why Mr Forsythe was arrested.
‘At all times we followed the Greek penal code. It is the police’s job to investigate, gather evidence and then put together a file for the Prosecutor. The decision to detain Mr Forsythe was made by the Prosecutor, not us and we just acted on their instructions.
‘What happened to Mr Forsythe was not a mistake on our part, we did nothing wrong. When we saw the CCTV footage from the Help bar, that’s when our suspicions were raised’.
Captain Loverdos added: ‘At the end of the day, the police are also humans and we are happy that Mr Forsythe has been released and his back with his daughter. Like them, we also want the truth to come out and for the culprit to be caught.’
The police official maintained that the investigation into Tammi’s rape is continuing and that they had recovered DNA of the attacker.
She added: ‘We will now match this DNA tp those samples that are in our national data base. This will take some time but it could lead to the attacker’s arrest.
‘Following Mr Forsythe’s release, the investigation will continue and has now taken a new turn. We will continue to work hard to catch the person who raped Tammi.’