A decorated Royal Marine colonel has launched a mission to clear his son’s name after he was convicted of rape.
Colonel Mark Gray, who was awarded the MBE in 2002, believes his son George is innocent and “will not rest” until he is freed.
The trainee accountant, 19, was locked up for four years on Thursday for raping a girl at a lavish party.
After the verdict, his father said he was “disappointed and frustrated” at how his son had been treated by the justice system.
Col Gray said the only the evidence was the victim’s statement – which he said in rape cases made “miscarriages of justice inevitable”.
He also criticised police’s “ululation” with the media – claiming officers publicised the case in the press because of the family’s profile.
In a statement, the Colonel said: “As a loyal servant of the State, I cannot hide my disappointment and frustration at the manner in which that State has exercised its power over my son in the past year or so.
“Nothing I have seen in the past two weeks has done anything other than reinforce my certainty of his innocence. I find it incredible that a young man can be convicted on the uncorroborated evidence of a single individual, proven in court to have been less than honest.
“Sadly, political imperatives have recently lowered evidential thresholds in such cases, making miscarriages of justice inevitable.
“I am equally disappointed with the conduct of Devon and Cornwall Police, whose shameless ululation to the media, brings on them no credit and heightens the grief of all involved.”
Gray was 18 and a pupil at Truro School at the time of the rape on October 29 last year. The attack happened at a party attended by 170 guests who were entertained by opera singers and a seven-piece band.
Gray, from East Lyng, near Taunton, was convicted at Truro Crown Court and sent to a Young Offenders’ Institute for four years. He will be put on the sex offenders’ register for life.
Passing sentence, the judge, Mr Justice Burnett, told Gray he had come across in the witness box as “brash and arrogant”. But despite the judge’s comments, Colonel Gray thanked him – for not jailing him for longer.
His statement said: “I am grateful to the Honourable Mr Justice Burnett for sentencing as leniently as the guidelines allowed.
“I remain committed to the fight to clear the name of my son, and will not rest until that mission is accomplished.”
The colonel has served in Northern Ireland, Iraq and the former Yugoslavia, where, as part of the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force in 1992, he defied land mines and booby traps to save 20,000 lives from a planned Serb attack on a dam.
Devon and Cornwall Police strongly refuted his claim the case was treated differently to any other rape enquiry because of the family’s profile.
A spokesman said: “The Force has not proactively sought publicity for this case and media statements were not released before or during the trial of George Gray.”
“The statement released at the conclusion of the trial was written in co-operation with and had the full support of the victim. This has been a harrowing experience for the victim and ultimately the case against George Gray has been proven in a court of law.”