POLICE have paid a man “substantial compensation” after releasing his photograph in a press release about a rapist.
Thames Valley Police released the image of Daniel Rodriguez-Lay, 33, in October after the convicted rapist, Kidlington man Daniel Rodriguez, 38, admitted firearms crimes and rape.
Bristol man Mr Rodriguez-Lay’s picture appeared on the Oxford Mail’s website and on BBC Oxford in connection with the story.
He said: “The first thing I knew about this was when I started receiving calls and text messages from my family and friends back in Oxford.
“They were asking what I had done.
“They thought I was a rapist. I was sickened by what that man had done and that people thought it was me.”
Kevin Donoghue, solicitor director at Donoghue Solicitors, launched a defamation case against the police on behalf of Mr Rodriguez-Lay.
He said: “The fact that the press reports were local to Daniel’s family and friends, and described such brutal, grotesque, and deeply immoral crimes, means that the damage to my client’s reputation and the distress, hurt, and humiliation he suffered were significant.
“My client has received an apology from the police and settled his claim out-of-court for substantial compensation. By publicising the award he hopes to ensure that anyone who saw the original reports is now properly informed.”
A police spokesman yesterday said: “Thames Valley Police is sorry for the error we made in incorrectly releasing a photograph of Mr Rodriguez-Lay.
“We immediately apologised to Mr Rodriguez-Lay and subsequently followed this up in writing.
“We are pleased that this matter has now been fully resolved for him. The force would like to apologise for any distress caused by this error and reassure the public that measures have been taken to mitigate against the possibility of this happening again.”