A woman who insists she was raped in her own home four years ago has finally won her fight for justice.

Police believed the woman's story when they investigated in 1999 but said there was not enough evidence to press charges.

The woman, known as Ms A, who was 15 at the time of the attack, turned to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, which makes payments to victims of crime.

Her application was turned down after the authority ruled "on the balance of probabilities" she was not a victim of rape.

But the authority's decision was overturned on Thursday after an appeal and Ms A was awarded £7,500.

When the application was first turned down, Ms A told The Argus: "I know exactly what happened to me. They don't. In effect I'm being told I made it all up."

She said the attack took place on January 29, 1999, after her friend invited another friend to her home for a quiet evening watching TV.

She said: "We were sitting there together chatting. I'd drunk a can of Stella Artois and it had been a nice evening. I wasn't drunk by any means. It got late and (the attacker) asked if he could stay over. I wasn't happy about it but I said it was all right.

"We were all lying on mattresses in the lounge. Then he started trying to get close to me. I was saying "Leave me alone" but he just carried on.

"It led to rape. I didn't know what to do. I couldn't scream or even say anything as it was happening. I was just in shock. Afterwards I just lay on the bed in tears." Ms A said nothing for seven days. Her friend had slept through the attack, only to be woken by Ms A saying: "No, no. . ."

She said: "I couldn't tell anyone, I didn't know what to do. It was only when I was at my cousin's house about a week later that I told her what had happened. She told her mum, her mum told my mum and my mother told the police.

"The police didn't seem to take me seriously. They made me talk through everything, more than once, it was just horrible.

"I told them my friend was there and they said they would question her. I think they made one attempt to contact her and then didn't bother again."

Her attacker denied it and two months later Miss A was told there wasn't enough evidence to press charges. Because of the attack, she stopped going to school. She turned to welfare rights worker Tony Greenstein of the Brighton and Hove Unwaged Advice and Rights Centre.

Mr Greenstein, who represented Ms A at her appeal, said: "This is brilliant news as it finally brings closure for Ms A.

"The trauma of being told by the authority that she hadn't been raped was in many ways worse than the original act of rape."

Mr Greenstein criticised the time it took to get compensation.

He said: "Unlike all other victims of violence, rape victims are in a unique position whereby the mere fact of having been attacked is questioned and disputed."