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Women accuse Met of missing chances to charge alleged serial attacker | Rape and sexual assault

The Metropolitan police may have missed a chance to bring charges over a series of alleged assaults by the same man, several women have told the Guardian.

The women made statements to the Met and allege the force mishandled their claims about Hubert Greliak, who they claim may be a serial attacker.

Greliak was convicted in January of rape against one woman. On Tuesday he was sentenced to 13 years and six months in jail and an extended period on license of four years and six months for that attack.

The woman in that case, Juliana Terlizzi, 34, has waived her right to legal anonymity. She tracked down other women through social media who made claims against Greliak stretching over 11 years.

After Greliak was arrested in March 2020 for the attack on Terlizzi, at least two more women came forward and made statements to the police. One said she had been put off after her contact with the Met. Another said police just seemed to give up on her case de ella, with one officer making a remark she found offensive.

They say Greliak could receive a shorter jail sentence than had the claims have been investigated properly and potential other charges have been put before the court. They fear Greliak may remain a danger to women after his release from prison.

The Met said it handled the case properly and urged women to come forward. The force said it was “absolutely dedicated to achieving criminal justice outcomes for victim-survivors”. Police said they received one other complaint against Greliak, which was investigated and did not lead to charges.

A solicitor for Greliak said he could not comment because his client was in jail so could not be reached.

The Met has been under fire for how it handles crimes against women, especially rape.

A report last year by the victims’ commissioner for London, Claire Waxman, found nearly two-thirds of rape victims in London, which is covered by the Met, who dropped their complaints did so within a month of going to police, with the proportion tripling in two years.

At the time Terlizzi was attacked in February 2020 she was in a relationship with Greliak. She said he drugged her, and he was convicted at Isleworth crown court for then raping her and filming the attack. He was also convicted for assault by penetration, theft and refusing to give the passcode to his phone from her. During the attack, with Terlizzi unconscious, he said: “I’m completely raping you … ”

As her case progressed Terlizzi became convinced her attacker was breaching his bail conditions but said police did not take her seriously: “They said I was overreacting, overthinking things. They said I should go to the doctor and get medication.”

It turned out Terlizzi was right and Greliak ended up having his bail revoked for breaching it.

She said she was asked to give detectives access to her phones, computers and social media: “The police treated me as a suspect and made it almost unbearable for me to support the case moving forward. It was almost as if they wanted me to give up and drop the case, which had a huge impact on my mental health.”

Terlizzi spoke to Greliak’s past girlfriends and partners and found 10 others who she said complained about his behaviour, with allegations ranging from rape and assault to controlling and abusive behaviour.

One woman who alleges she was raped during a five-year relationship with Greliak says police mishandled her case.

Kate (not her real name) came forward to support Terlizzi’s case and said she still had nightmares and had not told her family what happened. Kate said: “I thought that he had only got worse while he was with me and that maybe even part of it was actually my fault, that I had enabled him and allowed him to get worse. I considered it important to report my experience too, and finally cut ties with him once and for all.”

She added that she did not believe “a person like this” would “stop abusing women of his own accord”.

She said: “I found it extremely hard to get myself around to report my experience, as I have no proof of what he did to me over the five years we were together. I didn’t know what domestic rape was, and had serious doubts about what constitutes emotional and even physical abuse … ”

She said she filed an online report to police and was shocked and embarrassed when police turned up at the temporary accommodation where she was staying. “Overall, I felt the police handling of the case was tactless, I especially feel they didn’t realize the shame it would bring me the fact that they showed up at my Airbnb and that therefore I didn’t have any privacy to talk about my report.”

Rose (not her real name) alleged she was sexually assaulted in a London bar and made a statement to the police. Her identity was relayed to Greliak by police in interview – normal police procedure so he could respond – and he denied everything. Rose said she was hurt when one officer said: “At least he knows how you feel.”

Rose said: “My only intention was to report the truth of what had happened in order to protect others.”

She said Greliak had once said to her: “You look so hot I could rape you.”

Terlizzi said she feared he would spend only a few years in jail and emerge as a continued threat to women. “As it stands, Greliak was only prosecuted and convicted for the crimes he committed in relation to me. I have no doubt Greliak will reoffend and I worry for my safety and that of other women when he is released from jail.”

She told the court during her victim impact statement as Greliak was sentenced: “If he is capable of committing such horrifying crimes to someone he allegedly loves, I am terrified to imagine what he is capable of doing to someone he doesn’t. His behavior and actions of him are those of a psychopath.

The Met initially said no other women had made allegations of criminal offenses against Greliak. It later revised its statement and said: “As part of the wider investigation officers approached a number of individuals in relation to Greliak’s behaviour. On 23 May 2020, the [Met] received one allegation of sexual assault that was alleged to have taken place in 2012. The allegation was investigated and the case discontinued with no further action.

“We can assure survivors that any allegation will be taken seriously and you will be fully supported. We are committed to tackling all forms of violence against women and girls and are absolutely dedicated to achieving criminal justice outcomes for victim-survivors.”