Mother: My daughter killed herself because the police advised her against reporting a rape
Semina Halliwell, from Southport in northwest England, wanted justice for what was done to her. A classmate is said to have raped the 12-year-old in February 2021 – what follows are brutal bullying attacks on social networks. To report her tormentor, Semina goes to the police with her mother. But instead of believing the survivors of sexual violence, a police officer in Merseyside (Great Britain) is said to have advised against filing a criminal complaint – with fatal consequences. Three months after the first interrogation, Semina Halliwell took her own life. Family members of the deceased student are now making serious allegations against investigators.
Semina’s aunt: The policeman on duty was annoyed
In an interview with the British broadcaster “Sky News”, Semina’s mother Rachel and aunt Clare Halliwell said the senior officer sat there and “started talking about all the forms he would have to fill out if the complaint was made and for how long would need for that,” recalled Aunt Clare.
“The police officer told Semina that her word was against the alleged perpetrator and that the investigation will take a long time because the case would not end up in court for 18 months to two years.”
Semina’s autism made the first statement a real challenge for her to express herself to strangers, the aunt adds. That police officer would have lacked any tact. He was trying too hard to process the case quickly.
Despite indications of massive bullying: the police are not following up on clues
Semina’s family also tells Sky News that Merseyside Police did not tell Semina’s school about the reported rape – despite assurances to the family that protective measures would be taken. For this reason, Semina was forced to stay at home while the alleged perpetrator continued to go to school.
Worse, after the initial interview, Semina and her family—including a sibling—were the target of a campaign of online and offline bullying. The family believes that the attacks were committed by acquaintances of the alleged perpetrator. However, Merseyside Police did not follow up on the information.
“They said that anyone who goes to the police gets a kick in the butt. And that’s exactly what happened. Semina was beaten up three times and filmed,” denounces Mama Rachel in the “Sky News” interview. Her sibling was also beaten at school.
Later, two girls were prosecuted for the attacks on Semina. Many other incidents have not been fully investigated, although there have been a number of videos on social media, Semina’s mother continues to lament.
Semina on the day of her death: “I’ve had enough of it”
Three months have passed since the first contact with the police. After another conversation in the family living room about the rape and molestation, Semina withdraws. “I’ve had enough of it,” she is said to have said and went upstairs. I thought she was just fed up with the police being here and doing nothing,” her mother explained at the time. But Semina had gone upstairs to take the pills that would kill her.
Later, the family discovers the empty medicine packs. Semina is immediately taken to a hospital. She is placed in an induced coma. But the organs fail. Semina dies at the age of 12.
Bullies throw dog feces and bricks at Semina’s grave
Semina’s grave was defaced by unknown persons.
A young girl has died, but the family is not left alone. “The day after her funeral, someone on Snapchat – it was a fake account – offered 10,000 pounds (almost 12,000 euros) for
someone to film and vandalize Semina’s grave. Two weeks later the grave was defaced,” remembers Semina’s mother in the “Sky News” interview.
Videos of harassment and physical assault on Semina and messages celebrating the 12-year-old’s death have been leaked to the family by strangers. Her family allege that Merseyside Police have consistently failed to stop the harassment and that police have failed to properly investigate Semina’s death.
“The police said if she had been murdered it would have been different,” explains Aunt Clare in the “Sky News” interview. Because then the investigators could have traced the digital traces back to the cell phone of the originator. “But they couldn’t do it because it wasn’t a serious crime,” said the aunt, explaining the police’s inaction. These omissions are “absolutely disgusting”. “Everyone who is paid to protect her has let her down. Not one of them has told her that she is worth her time,” said the serious allegations.
Semina’s family wants justice – and police reforms
Incidents are repeatedly described in which the police would turn away survivors of sexual violence if they made a statement or at least the chances of a conviction of the perpetrator or perpetrators were minimal. Instead, British police are giving survivors of sexual violence the impression that it was their own fault that they were blackmailed into sending intimate pictures, for example, reports Sky News.
Rachel and Clare Halliwell are therefore calling for massive reforms in the police force. In desperation, the two turned to the British press and made Semnina’s story public. No more families should have to experience such terrible suffering. (kra)