POLICE have admitted losing crucial evidence as part of an investigation into claims Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock sexually assaulted a vulnerable woman.
A report in the national media says a detective from Hampshire Constabulary told the alleged victim and her solicitor that the force cannot locate discs which contained phone records of the Portsmouth City councillor for Fratton showing the level of contact between them.
The disclosure comes weeks police decided not to take any further action against Cllr Hancock following discussions with the Crown Prosecution Service.
Police insist that they had the evidence when the decision was made, but it was not seen as being particularly crucial to the case.
The alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is still suing him in the High Court and a hearing about a settlement is due to take place on Monday.
The alleged victim plans to lodge a complaint with the Independent Police Complaints Commission about lost documents.
A Hampshire Constabulary spokesman said: ‘These phone records were available to police, and examined by officers, before the original decision was made to take no further action in this case.
‘These records were not a decisive piece of evidence.
‘We are in the process of locating a disc that contains these phone records in our archives, and hard copies of the actual phone messages remain available to the police currently.’