East Sussex twins lead protest in support of teenager convicted over Ayia Napa gang rape claim

Identical twin sisters from East Sussex led a demonstration in London to support a teenager who was found guilty of lying about being gang-raped in Ayia Napa.

Lucy Nevitt and her sister Verity at the protest in London
Lucy Nevitt and her sister Verity at the protest in London

Verity and Lucy Nevitt, both 22 from Battle, started the protest on Monday (January 6) outside the Cypriot Embassy in London, leading it through Trafalgar Square, past Downing Street and Parliament Square before finishing outside the Foreign Office.

The sisters said the aim was to call on the UK government – particularly Prime Minster Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab – to intervene in the handling of the case.

This week, the 19-year-old was given a sentence of four months, suspended for three years, and ordered to pay £125 in legal fees after withdrawing a claim she had been raped by a group of 12 men in a hotel room in Cyprus in July.

Verity and Lucy Nevitt

She said police made her falsely confess to lying about the incident but the police deny this.

After the protest, which was attended by approximately 200 people, Verity said: “We organised this protest to call on Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab to do something.

“We demand justice for her. She has this conviction and hasn’t got justice.

“We are calling for the initial rape case to be investigated properly. It should be held in a court of law and she should be compensated. A rape crisis centre should be opened on the island as there isn’t currently one there. The judge should be recalled and the police should be suspended as they didn’t investigate the crime scene. They failed her.”

Verity said she hoped the young woman could access therapy through the NHS and other services ‘as soon as possible’.

In September 2018, the twins, who both study at Goldsmiths University in London, set up the Gemini Project, a non-profit organisation to help survivors of sexual violence.

Verity added: “When we started, we didn’t really know what to expect.

“We wanted to help people who were experiencing trauma and soon police were sending people to us to give them support. It has become a full time job.”

Through the Gemini Project, Verity and Lucy would like to see less burden put on victims of sexual crimes, as well as juries replaced by panels – made up of specially-trained judges, psychologists and advocates who understand the trauma – to oversee sexual violence cases.