Monday, October 18, 2010

Newlywed jailed for false rape claim

A NEWLYWED woman who lied that she had been raped after a girls’ night out has been sentenced to a two-year jail term.

Emma Watson, who is deaf, broke down in tears after she was sentenced for falsely claiming she had been raped following a night out in Warrington town centre.

After the 32-year-old pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court to perverting the course of justice, Judge Henry Globe QC jailed her.

He warned such false allegations make it more difficult for genuine victims to get justice, a message echoed by senior detectives in St Helens.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that Watson, who had been married for only six weeks, went out on November 7 last year with a group of women.

Prosecuting, Michael Stephenson said that while out she met a 20-year-old man and they returned to the home of the man’s parents and had consensual sex.

He said: “At some point she became distressed and this may be connected with the receipt of text messages from her husband expressing concern about her whereabouts.”

After claiming to her parents and husband she had been raped, Watson, of Fernhill Walk, Clock Face, repeated the allegation under police interview on Nov 17.

The man she accused was arrested on suspicion of rape and detained for 14 hours before being released on bail.

But in January she admitted the claim was false and apologised for the accusation.

Her defence solicitor Steven Swift said Watson recognised the gravity of her offence.

He suggested the false allegation was generated by “regret and pangs of guilt” about the damage having sex with the man would do to her marriage.

Judge Globe said: “"Every false allegation of rape increases the plight of those women who are the victims of this dreadful crime.

“It makes the offence harder to prove and, rightly concerned to avoid the conviction of an innocent man, a jury may find itself unable to be sufficiently sure to return a guilty verdict.”

Reacting to the sentence Detective Inspector Ged Seddon, of St Helens CID, said: "Merseyside Police will investigate and prosecute every complaint of rape thoroughly.

"If, during the course of an investigation, it transpires that the complaint is not true, then we will investigate that false allegation robustly.

"A false allegation of rape undermines the entire criminal justice system and detracts officers from supporting genuine victims of rape. Fortunately, these cases are very rare."