PIC probes rape inquiry 'tip-off' claim A senior policeman allegedly tipped off a high profile rugby league player about a gang rape investigation involving a young tourist, the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) has been told. The young Finnish woman told police in Sydney she was gang raped by a group of men at a house after meeting a man at the Orient Hotel in inner-city The Rocks on November 19, 2004. She had consensual intercourse with that man, who she described as "the surfer guy", but told police that while they were having sex, a group of naked men entered the bedroom and began masturbating. She was then slapped and restrained by the surfer guy, before he and the other men repeatedly raped her. A photograph recovered from the woman's camera showed then South Sydney rugby league captain Bryan Fletcher in a car that delivered the young girl to the scene of the rape. He was pictured in the back seat with the surfer guy and his brother, who both cannot be named. The woman returned to Finland five days later and told police she did not want to pursue the case. No charges have ever been laid. The PIC was told that Superintendent Adam Purcell, then acting eastern suburbs commander, arranged a private meeting with Mr Fletcher on November 24 and before the footballer had spoken with investigating police. Supt Purcell said he wanted to prevent media leaks so as to strengthen the victim's resolve and "for Bryan Fletcher, if he wasn't an offender". The involvement of a high-profile football player in the wake of the Bulldogs scandal created extraordinary circumstances, he said. Supt Purcell, who later took on the additional role of assistant manager of the NSW State of Origin side, only made brief notes of the private meeting and did not give Mr Fletcher a caution so that his answers could be used in court. Counsel assisting the PIC, Michael King, SC, said Supt Purcell wanted to tip off Mr Fletcher. "Your actions were to provide, in effect, an unrecorded advance warning to a possible suspect or person of interest, weren't they," Mr King said. Supt Purcell said if he had wanted to do that it would have been done in secret. "My mistake was that I acted like a crime manager and not a commander ... but to suggest that I tried to get Fletcher out of this and give him the heads up is wrong," Supt Purcell said. Earlier, Supt Purcell said he met "the surfer guy" with Blues coach Graham Murray and former player Adam Ritson at a Melbourne hotel after game three of the Origin series in July 2006. Supt Purcell said the man went to shake hands with him and said, "Adam, I think I owe you some thanks." "I said, 'You don't owe me any thanks, all I did was minimise media involvement and the investigation was done in an appropriate way'," Supt Purcell told the PIC. He said he then stopped the conversation because he felt uncomfortable, but later again ran into the man, who offered him a drink. Supt Purcell said: "I don't want your drink and I don't want anything to do with you ... and let's just leave it there." He said he had decided to distance himself from the investigation in November 2004 after concerns were raised by another officer that he had arranged to meet Mr Fletcher alone. The inquiry before Commissioner John Pritchard continues on Thursday.