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Two women at centre of rape trial criticise police investigation and trial process

Two women at the centre of a rape trial have criticised the police investigation and the trial process.

Last month, 24-year-old former soldier Patrick Hall, accused of attacking seven women between 2006 and 2011, was acquitted over the course of two trials.

Days after Mr Hall was acquitted, Tracy Shelvey, one of the complainants against him, fell to her death from a shopping centre in Rochdale.

Tracy Shelvey died after falling from the roof of a car park in Rochdale in February

Two other women who gave evidence against Mr Hall in court have been speaking exclusively to ITV Granada Reports.

One alleged victim says she feels her experience with the police and the legal system has made her distrust the law:

"The day after I went to the police station and did my video interview ... there was no ... there didn't seem to be any encouragement to go through with what I'd told the police.

"In circumstances like that you'd think they'd be trying to help the person rather than put them off. That's the way it seemed to me."

– 'Julie', the name we have given to an alleged victim of Patrick Hall

Fifteen months passed and Julie says she heard nothing more. Then, in July 2012, police told her the case would be going to court because other 'alleged victims' of Patrick Hall had come forward.

PICTURE POSED BY MODEL: A rape victim waits to be seen by the doctor in the medical room at a specialist rape clinic in Kent. Credit: PA

Rachel was one of those women. She had to wait eight years before police called her back.

She told Granada Reports:

"Well, I was shocked really because it was eight years later, wasn't it?

"So, I was very shocked when they rang me.

"And then when I found out about the other girls as well, I was very angry that they didn't believe me 8 years ago."

– 'Rachel', the name we have given to another alleged victim of Patrick Hall

Another woman who claimed Patrick Hall attacked her told ITV News that the police failed to take evidence.

Granada Reports understand at least one officer is facing disciplinary action and the investigations run out of Heywood Police Station are now the subject of an Independent Police Complaints Commission inquiry.

Sir Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, said:

"Clearly we've got to acknowledge that there have been failings in some investigations, but it's also, sadly, as well in the nature of this type of offence that you often need to get a number of victims together to try and create a weight of evidence that is likely to convince a jury."

"There have been failings in some investigations"

– Sir Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police

In Patrick Hall's case, he was found not guilty of all charges, but 'Julie' says nothing could have prepared her for cross examination.

She said: "It's disgusting. I can't think of anything that makes you feel so belittled. It is absolutely horrible because you're basically being told you are a liar."

"You're basically being told you are a liar."

– Alleged rape victim, "Julie"

According to friends, Tracy Shelvey's ordeal at trial was to prove too much for her and days after Patrick Hall was acquitted she fell to her death from this car park in Rochdale.

Miss Shelvey's case has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. This is standard procedure because she had had recent contact with officers in the days before she died. The police say they were there to support her.

Tributes to Tracy Shelvey Credit: Granada Reports

The Director of Public Prosecutions, however, said that more needs to be done to support vulnerable witnesses like Tracy and 'Julie'.

She said: "There are lots of things that we can do to make it less brutal. We can talk to the victim about what sorts of things they want in place. We can put up screens if they want screens and we can do video links so that we don't have to go into the court room. We can try to help minimise the impact of having to give evidence in court as well".

"There are lots of things that we can do to make it less brutal"

– Alison Saunders. the Director of Public Prosecutions

Granada Reports approached Patrick Hall, the man acquitted for raping seven women, but he declined to be interviewed.

He did, however, have his own complaints about the investigation and the trial. He said he spent months on remand for crimes he was later cleared of. Time, he says, that he will never get back.

He also told Granada Reports that his name has been dragged through the mud and said he believes those accused of rape should be given the same anonymity as those who claim to have been attacked, unless they are found guilty.

We spoke to the MP for Rochdale, Simon Danshuck, who said Greater Manchester Police needed to make major changes to the way they dealt with complaints of rape.