This is a significant sentence for a false rape accuser -- not nearly as much as the innocent man would have received if her lie had its intended effect, but a start. The only drawback is that the judge felt a need to invoke the politically correct mantra that the "most serious" aspect of her her lie was the harm it does to phantom, unknown rape victims whose tales will be doubted because of fabrications such as this one. In any event, perhaps this will send a signal to false rape accusers that they place themselves at real risk when they cry rape.
By Tom Chivers and agencies
Last Updated: 3:12pm BST 31/03/2008
A woman who falsely accused a soldier of rape has been described as "wicked" by the judge who sentenced her to a year in jail.
Amanda Lang, 21, had consensual sex with Lance Corporal Philip Trowell after drinking with him at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire. The act took place in Lang's bedroom which she shared with her pilot boyfriend.
The court heard that after sex Lang started to cry, saying she felt guilty. Once L/Cpl Trowell had left, she complained to neighbours that she had been raped. Lang sobbed as Judge Julian Hall, at Oxford Crown Court, sentenced her to one year in prison and told her: "What you did was wicked. "I think most men would feel, if they were accused of rape, that they would tear their hair out.
"For a few days this man's life was turned upside down. You persisted with your story for 15 months so all the time he thought he was going to have to give evidence to prove you were lying.
"You caused an enormous amount of work and waste of time. The most serious aspect is that you have done womankind no good at all.
"Every time a woman makes a false allegation of rape you let down the women that make true allegations and cause suspicion that another person is making it up.
"That is the evil of what you did - it undermines the whole process. This is a case where a message has to be sent out to everybody that false allegations of rape are insidious to a degree."
Amjad Malik, prosecuting, said that L/Cpl Trowell's detailed description of Lang's bedroom had been key to disproving her claim that he had dragged her in to some bushes after leaving the bar.
Mr Malik said: "What he gave was an accurate description of the room and contents and was even able to describe the staining on the bed.
"It was an account he could only have given if he had spent some time in that room."
The court heard that Lang had stuck to her story for some months, claiming that she was terrified of L/Cpl Trowell and that he was a dangerous man who might strike again.
However, his detailed account enabled officers to uncover inconsistencies in Lang's account. A lack of grass-stains and mud on Lang's person also undermined her story, as did forensic samples on her bed.
In a victim impact statement read out by Mr Malik L/Cpl Trowell told of the "daunting" experience, the frustration of having to prove his innocence and the "stigma" he suffered among his colleagues in the Armed Forces of having had a rape allegation made against him.
James Reilly, defending Lang, said she was immature and had a troubled past and had suffered depression. He said the rape allegation came as a result of a "snowball effect" and the defendant realised she was wrong.