Friday, March 13, 2009

Dad in rape-lie ordeal

Comment: The following story illustrates the reason why there MUST be greater accountability for false accusations, not to mention anonymity for the presumed innocent until conviction. Not only has the man suffered, but his wife and family have been the targets of hostility as well. They are now in the process of selling their home and moving due to the problems they have experienced from this ordeal.

The accuser was sentenced to four months, with half suspended.

Six month nightmare, finally over.

A MAN falsely accused of being a rapist has spoken of his hell after his accuser was locked up for lying.

Dad-of-two John Mulholland twice tried to commit suicide as he and he and his family were subjected to vile abuse after the allegations were made.

He is now selling his home and moving to another country to start a new life following a six-month nightmare.

Yesterday Stacey Challoner, 20, of Denton, was given a four-month sentence at Manchester Crown Court after earlier admitting attempting to pervert the course of justice.

She had made up the rape claims after her partner demanded to know if she had been unfaithful while he was in prison.

She claimed Mr Mulholland had taken her to a wood when she was drunk and raped her. In fact, they had consensual sex once, at Challoner's home.

Mr Mulholland, 28, from Wythenshawe, told the M.E.N: "I own my house, and it is worth £135,000. We recently had £25,000 worth of improvements done to it. But I am having to sell it for £100,000 so that we can move."

My wife has stood by me and we are planning to move to Ireland. This woman has no idea of the damage she has caused me."

Twice I have had a noose round my neck, wanting to kill myself, but my wife found me and helped me through it."

I believe Challoner should have been given at least two years and would then have served 12 months. People have got more than four months for stealing from shops."

My kids are aged three and six, and they and my wife have been verbally abused too. My kids have been spat at. I have been called a rapist in the street."

Mr Mulholland had been interviewed by police and released on bail. Three days after Challoner made the allegations last August she admitted they were false in a further interview.

In court William Donnelly, prosecuting, said: "As the victim told police 'mud sticks'. He has told police he has been shamed by the local community, referred to as a rapist, hissed at in the street, and has had CCTV fitted to his house. This has also caused considerable problems in his own relationship with his partner."

Limited Defending Carolyn Smith said Challoner, who has the care of three children, was a woman of limited intellectual ability and emotionally very vulnerable.

She said her partner was 'manipulative and a bully' and he had asked her repeatedly whether she had been unfaithful when he had been serving a prison sentence.

He had asked her 'did he force himself on you?' and she became distressed. Her partner then called police to make a complaint that Mulholland had raped her.

Miss Smith said: "She was interviewed by police and was too frightened to back on the lie."

She said Challoner was now an emotionally damaged and depressed young woman, who was 'genuinely sorry' for making the allegation.

But Judge Iain Hamilton, after reading reports on the case, told Challoner: "I have no sense that you understand the gravity of what you have done - there is no real sense of remorse, although I accept that you pose a low risk of committing a further offence."

The allegation you made is of such a serious nature that any person - both women and men - must be deterred from making such an allegation. I have thought long and hard about giving you a suspended sentence but I can't do so and be consistent with my public duty."

He sentenced Challoner to four months in a young offenders' institution. She will serve half of the sentence.

Detective Constable Ceri Naylor from Wythenshawe CID said: "I am really pleased with the result as it gives a clear message that lying about something like this will not go unpunished."

To make up such a sickening offence takes someone with a blatant disregard not only for police time but for other, real, victims of rape, and for the future life of the person they are accusing.

"The man Challoner implicated has suffered massively as a result of her lies, as has his family. I hope that today's result brings him some sense that justice has been done."