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Rarely has there been a more harrowing story to hear than of the British teen convicted of making up gang rape claims

  • Warning: This article contains information some readers may find distressing

Every so often in this job you get to sit down and talk to someone right at the heart of a story which has been splashed across the papers and hit the the top of the TV bulletins.

It can be a strange experience - a quiet space in the eye of the storm.

You are there face to face - to listen, explore - to give a story voice.

But to interview a woman about an alleged rape, and in this case an alleged gang rape - has heavy responsibilities which come with it.

Most evidently, the interview means the woman has to in part re-live or re-visit a traumatic experience.

You have a duty to prepare the ground for such a conversation carefully.

Explain how the conversation will go, with compassion tell her how you might frame the hardest questions... and ask beforehand if there is anything simply too painful to address.

Having interviewed many female survivors of human trafficking, I've learned where some of the parameters lie.

I've also learned to be careful when a woman begins to tell her story as if they are speaking about it happening to someone else.... such dissociation can indicate the deepest of traumas.

The teenager was convicted of making up gang rape claims in Cyprus. Credit: ITV

Before sitting down to interview Emily, we spent a long time making just such preparations, including taking advice from a psychologist.

Even with this in place - she found my opening question, when I simply asked her to tell me about the boy in question, about how they met and what he was like - almost too much.

She had to leave the room to compose herself because the question had reminded her of the police investigation.

We spent hours interviewing Emily and her extraordinary mother.

Here is an extremely bright, intuitive, funny young woman - undone by an alleged horrific attack by multiple young men, all of whom denied rape and none of whom were charged.

A lawyer for three of the males told ITV his clients’ innocence cannot be disputed following Emily’s conviction.

In January, a court in Cyprus convicted Emily of making up the claims.

Sam (not his real name) the male who Emily had a holiday fling with, declined to comment.

A woman who then came up against a system her supporters say subjected her to a miscarriage of justice.

Though the Cypriot government says it has full confidence in its justice system, and the police have said they handled the case with professionalism from the beginning.

But here too is a woman who refuses to give in. Who had opportunities to take an easy path just to get home. When the judge handed her the suspended sentence - she could have accepted it and tried to move on.

But she won't; she continues to fight.

Not only am I in awe of her courage in speaking out - but full of admiration for her guts, her passion and her blazing defiance.

Believe Me: The Cyprus Rape Case is broadcast on Tuesday, April 14, at 10.45pm on ITV.