Monday, August 18, 2008

Rape lie prompts "house-to-house enquiries"

A common reaction of people stopped for a minor traffic offense is "don't the police have more important things to do?"

As in "more important" than to enforce a law against them.

A claim of stranger rape, most everyone would agree, would and should jump to the top or near the top of the police force's "more important" list. Every rape claim must be taken seriously. Even the ones that later turn out to be false.

But the next time you are tempted to ask if the police have "more important things to do," think about this false rape accuser whose lie prompted "a full-time extensive investigation" with "house-to-house enquiries." And think about the other similar cases recounted on this Web site.

Do the police have "more important" things to do than chase after a false rape claim like that?

That was a rhetorical question.

If legitimate, serious crimes were neglected because of this lie, well, you can't blame that on the police. But it underscores the necessity to punish the liar to deter this sort of vile prevarication.

And we won't even discuss what might have happened if the police had zeroed in on a hapless, falsely accused victim of the lie, as we've seen so many times in this Web site. And sometimes the victim of a false rape claim is charged and even convicted. Almost always such victim's life badly damaged, sometimes destroyed, because of the lie. Thankfully that didn't happen here.


Woman admits lying over rape claim

A WOMAN who lied about being raped by two strangers in a car faces jail for wasting police time.
Ann-Marie Gough, 33, of Manchester Drive, Leigh, yesterday admitted making a false statement at Leigh police station which led to a costly and time-consuming investigation.

Gough told police she had been out in Southend on July 11 and had a row with her ex-partner on the seafront.

When walking home, she said two unknown men forced her into a car in Hamlet Court Road, and then raped her in nearby London Road.

Prosecuting Lesley Chipps said: “A full-time extensive investigation was launched.

“There were house-to-house enquiries and a doctor examined her. Sixty hours of CCTV footage were viewed by officers. It’s been extremely costly to Essex Police.”

Gough, who has no previous convictions, admitted in later police interviews she lied about the rape and only left the house once that evening to have a cigarette.

However, Michelle Breindel, defending, said Gough still claimed she had been raped by two men that day, but said it took place inside her home.

Because she did not want to upset her four young children by having a forensic team search the house, she told police the attack took place in the town centre instead.

After she admitted she had lied about the rape, police asked her to make a formal statement about the alleged rape in her home. But she declined as she said she wanted no further action taken.

Miss Breindel said: “This is a very unusual case with some history to it.

“Her ex-partner has been harassing her over the past year and her children have been targeted.”

Gough will be sentenced on Monday, September 8, at Southend Magistrates’ Court. She is on unconditional bail until then.