The son of a shipping tycoon has been charged over an alleged 11 month campaign of harassment towards the father of a woman who killed herself after accusing him of rape.
Alexander Economou is charged with the harassment of David de Freitas following the death of his daughter Eleanor in April last year. The 23-year-old woman had accused Economou of raping her, but he pursued a private prosecution against her for lying about the rape. The case was subsequently taken on by the Crown Prosecution Service and Eleanor de Freitas killed herself shortly before she was due to face trial over accusations of perverting the course of justice.
On Wednesday the CPS announced that Economou was being charged with harassing her father in the weeks and months after her death. He is accused of pursuing a course of conduct between 5 November last year and 20 October this year, which amounted to the harassment of de Freitas.
Economou is accused of delivering or causing to be delivered a letter last November to David de Freitas’s home, sending a series of emails to his solicitor, Harriet Wistrich, of Birnberg Peirce, and uploading various recordings and comments on to websites including YouTube which allegedly amounted to harassment.
Economou, 35, the son of a Britain-based shipping tycoon, is also accused of setting up and maintaining a website as part of his campaign of harassment.
A CPS spokesperson said: “The CPS has today charged Alexander Economou with harassment of David de Freitas.
“After carefully considering all of the evidence the CPS has decided that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to charge Mr Economou. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”
Economou will appear at Westminster magistrates court on 11 January next year.
The CPS was last year forced to defend its decision to pursue Eleanor for perverting the course of justice by allegedly lying about the rape allegation. She took her own life three days before her trial was due to start.
Alison Saunders, the director of Public Prosecutions, vigorously defended the decision to prosecute her, saying the case against her was strong. The CPS took over a private prosecution instigated by Economou.
Eleanor, who had bipolar disorder and had been sectioned in a mental health unit in the past, killed herself in April last year, three days before the trial was due to begin at Southwark crown court.
Saunders said she was satisfied that her lawyers had taken the necessary steps to assure themselves Eleanor’s mental health problems had been properly considered. She said medical experts provided by Eleanor’s legal team found that she was fit to stand trial.
“We do not take on these kind of prosecutions lightly, but the medical evidence provided to us could not justify dropping such a serious case,” she said.