Wednesday, November 3, 2010

VOTE: Woman jailed for two-and-a-half years over 'wicked' false rape claims

A WOMAN who pretended she had been brutally gang-raped by three men and repeatedly told "wicked" lies to the police has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Cheryll Dannatt persisted with her brazen and "graphic" lies even after being challenged by suspicious police investigators – and even claimed a pillow was shoved over her face during her violent rape ordeal.

Her serious lies had "let all women down" and potentially risked real rapists getting away with their crimes by sowing seeds of doubt in the minds of juries, a court heard.

Dannatt, 19, of Sixhills Street, Grimsby, admitted perverting the course of justice.

Bernard Gateshill, prosecuting, told Hull Crown Court that Dannatt went out in Cleethorpes on February 18 and, while in a nightclub early the next morning, met a man she knew, who invited her and others back to his Grimsby home, where friends of his were visiting.

Dannatt had consensual sex with three men in a bedroom and there was an attempted sexual encounter with a fourth man.

"However, the next day, the defendant complained to her mother that she had, in fact, been raped by three young men," said Mr Gateshill.

She made "graphic" claims of being forced to have sex.

"She was complaining of systematic abuse by a group of people," said Mr Gateshill.

The four men were arrested. Two of them spent more than 12 hours in custody and the other two 28 hours. The case was hanging over them for about two weeks before they were put in the clear.

"The police became very suspicious indeed about the veracity of the defendant and her complaint and began to make inquiries," said Mr Gateshill.

"They were to discover that the defendant's account was contradicted in various material ways by her companion that evening."

Dannatt was interviewed on March 14 but continued with her lies. She "emphatically denied" the version of events given by a witness who contradicted her story.

"She maintained that the account she had given of a group rape was the correct account," said Mr Gateshill.

Many police hours were wasted at a time when Grimsby police were particularly busy, the court heard.

Judge Jeremy Richardson QC told the court: "At no stage did she ever put the brakes on and say: 'I'm sorry, officer, I have done something incredibly stupid here' and it just went on and on and on.

"A vast amount of police time was wasted on this. Four men were arrested and spent many hours in custody. Their lives were turned upside down and they would probably have got sentences of up to 14 years if it had been a trial. A gang rape is a particularly serious matter."

He told Dannatt: "Let there be no mistake. You have committed a serious crime and you have let all women down."

In today's Grimsby Telegraph – Dannatt's victims speak out.