Former leading NRL player Bryan Fletcher has had his name dragged through the mud as an investigation continues into Police handling of an alleged gang rape case in 2004.
Bryan Fletcher, former member of the Sydney Roosters and South Sydney NRL teams – was reported to be in the company of several men who allegedly gang raped a Finnish backpacker in 2004.
It’s alleged that the backpacker consented to sex with a first man; and afterwards up to 5 other males forced themselves on to the young woman.
Bryan Fletcher was allegedly identified as one of the three men in a taxi who dropped the woman off to an eastern suburbs house. Police Superintendant Adam Purcell is then alleged to have interviewed Bryan Fletcher ‘off-line’ and unrecorded in what he claims was a bid to avoid the media leaks- similar to the Bulldogs rape case a few years ago.
The Police Integrity Commission (PIC) claims that Supt. Adam Purcell gave Bryan Fletcher ‘a heads up’ – by talking to him unofficially. Fletcher co-operated with Police and a DNA sample was requested.
Fletcher admits to being in the house with several others and he knew of consensual sex with the girl- however he claims to have left the house to walk home on foot after a few drinks.
No charges were ever laid in the case, with the victom unwilling to go through court process. Fletcher was determined to be a ‘witness’ and not an alleged offender in the saga.
Supt Purcell, who has played a key role with the NSW Origin side, helping the league transform player behaviour and is now the local area commander in Hurstville, was yesterday under fire for meetings he had with Fletcher.
The commission heard that during one phone call, Fletcher pleaded with Supt Purcell to tell his wife and Souths CEO Shane Richardson that he was not involved in the gang rape.
Fletcher allegedly told Supt Purcell he was afraid his DNA might match the attackers’ because he had been kissing the backpacker as they danced at the Orient Hotel, The Rocks on that night.
An interview with Fletcher was never recorded and the star was not cautioned, meaning anything he said could not be used in evidence in court.
“You gave Mr Fletcher a heads up didn’t you?” counsel assisting the inquiry Michael King SC asked Supt Purcell yesterday. “Your actions were to provide, in effect, an unrecorded and advance warning to a possible suspect or person of interest werent they?”
Supt Purcell angrily rejected the suggestion and said he only wanted to prevent damaging leaks to the media.
After the Bulldogs were caught in a media storm over unfounded allegations of rape in the same year, he decided, as acting commander of Waverley police, he would interview Fletcher himself to prevent leaks.
Supt Purcell told the inquiry he had phoned Fletcher’s former coach Ricky Stuart, who contacted Ricketson, or possibly another player, to obtain the star’s number so he could call him in.
Fletcher attended Bondi police station but Supt Purcell did not record an interview he conducted with him. No other police were present throughout the interview.
The integrity commission continues investigating whether any police were involved in serious misconduct or criminal activity in relation to the investigation. The hearing continues.