Friday, January 30, 2009

Woman gets 15 months for forcing girl to lie about rape, causing man to be jailed, suffer mental ordeal

Woman jailed after forcing teen to make up rape allegations

A WOMAN who threatened a pregnant 16-year-old girl into making false rape allegations has been jailed for 15 months.

Judge Keith Cutler said in Salisbury Crown Court on Friday that there were many victims of Victoria Spreadbury’s crime – perverting the course of justice.

Spreadbury, 21, of Friary Lane, Salisbury, told the girl she would be beaten until she lost her baby if she did not make allegations of sexual assault and rape against a man Spreadbury hated.

The frightened girl made the false allegations to police in September last year, causing the innocent man to be arrested, interviewed and held in custody for 22 hours before he was released on bail.

The court heard he had to speak to a mental health expert, was prescribed anti-depressants and had to be signed off work, because of the ordeal he was put through by Spreadbury.

The teenage girl returned to the police station two days after the man was interviewed and admitted that she had lied because she had been threatened.

Katy Longan, defending, said Spreadbury had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity, had made full admissions in interview and the whole matter was resolved in ten days.

She said her client had a troubled upbringing and turned to drugs – heroin, crack cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamines – at a young age, and that she had self-harmed and tried to kill herself in prison.

Judge Cutler said Spreadbury had caused an innocent man to face the threat of many years imprisonment and a young girl to live in fear for her baby’s life and to deal with the feelings of guilt and remorse for falsely accusing a man of rape.

“The third victims of your crime are the real people who suffer these sorts of crimes because people then start to think, perhaps all people making these accusations are liars. Your actions have all that impact onto others – there are so many varied and different victims to this crime.”

He sentenced her to 15 months imprisonment, with credit given for the days she has already served.