A PHD student killed herself after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) refused to take her rape case to court because there was CCTV of her holding hands with her attacker, an inquest has heard. 

Josie Jolley, 25, was found dead at her home in Brighton in September last year while her mother was in hospital receiving treatment for cancer.

In December 2019, Ms Jolley, a geography student at the University of Sussex, reported that she had been raped. 

The case was referred to the Metropolitan Police, who concluded it should be passed to the CPS but the decision was made not to take the case to court.

This was because CCTV footage, which showed her holding hands with the alleged attacker on the evening of the incident, would "undermine" the prosecution, Sussex Police told the inquest at Brighton’s Coroner’s Court. 

Appearing at the inquest, Josie’s mother Jacqueline said the pair had discussed whether or not to appeal against the decision, but Josie felt "it would only be more delay".

Detective Inspector James Meanwell of Sussex Police told the court: "Josie was interviewed on January 14 last year. In this case she was saying it was non-consensual and the suspect was saying it was consensual.

"They had met for the first time that evening. There was CCTV footage from the location, but no footage from the actual area of the offence.

"There was CCTV footage of them holding hands, which would be undermining for a prosecution to take place."

Josie, who was in her second year of PhD research and had won the prestigious MacQuitty prize for her undergraduate work, was put on the waiting list for talking therapy at the Brighton and Hove Wellbeing Service after the attack. 

Her mental health deteriorated, experiencing low moods and reduced concentration, but she declined counselling at the University of Sussex and refused antidepressant medication, the court heard.

The university contacted her GP in July 2020 over concern for her welfare as she had reported suicidal thoughts.

Josie attempted to take her own life on August 11. The counselling service again contacted her GP, who spoke to Josie, but she declined an appointment, medication or counselling.

Senior coroner Veronica Hamilton-Deeley concluded a fatal toxicity of morphine as the cause of death. 

She said: "I must say that Josie is one of the most remarkable young women I have come across.

"It’s the worse for humanity that she has not lived longer but this is a decision she has made.

"She has made a lasting impression on the university and leaves behind a legacy."

A spokesman from the CPS said: "Despite what the Sussex Police officer said, the Met never referred the case to the CPS.

"They took the decision not to take it any further, not the CPS."