Monday, February 15, 2010

Woman who set up rape scenes convicted

Follow up to our story HERE.

Gail Sherwood found guilty, to be sentenced March 4th.

A woman who set up rape scenes before telling police she had been sexually assaulted was found guilty of perverting the course of justice, police said today.

Gail Sherwood told officers she was dragged off to woods by a man with a weapon who then raped her as she returned to her car from walking her dogs on April 25 2008.

On June 1 2008 she said she was hit over the head and taken in her car to a remote spot where she was raped.

She was found naked from the waist down on one occasion with gaffer tape over her mouth and her hands tied behind her.

A police helicopter also found her half-naked behind a fence on another occasion.

The 52-year-old told detectives a stalker was harassing her and then blamed a motorist after they were involved in a minor car crash.

He was arrested on suspicion of harassment but released without charge after being held for 20 hours.

Sherwood, of Thrupp, Stroud, Gloucestershire, was caught after police set up a security camera outside her house.

The mother of two initially admitted making up the harassment and stalking claims after her arrest but she denied three charges of perverting the course of justice at Bristol Crown Court.

A jury today found her guilty of all three counts and she is due to be sentenced on March 4, police said.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Shorrock said outside court: "Gloucestershire Constabulary take all reports of sexual assaults very seriously and following Ms Sherwood's allegations an in-depth and thorough investigation was launched.

"Ms Sherwood has wasted significant police time and resources with these false allegations but what is most upsetting is the way a false claim such as this completely undermines those people whose lives have been devastated by genuine crimes of this nature.

"We are pleased that justice has been done but most importantly we want to reassure genuine victims that each case is treated in a sensitive manner by specially trained officers.

"We work in close partnership with the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and would like to encourage victims to report their experience to ensure they are given support and that everything possible is done to bring offenders to justice."