Phillipa Alice Costello, 28, has been sentenced by Teeside Crown Court to 8-months imprisonment after she falsely accused a young father -- a soldier -- of rape. The innocent man was arrested and held for 15 hours, had intimate samples taken, and had to wait two months before the investigation against him was dropped.
Costello made the false report on 12 April 2012 and continued with her cruel lie even though town centre CCTV footage proved the man was innocent. She did not confess until she was due to go on trial last month, in May 2013, on a charge of doing an act tending or intended to pervert the course of justice.
Judge Michael Taylor aptly said: "Regrettably, offences like this are not uncommon and a clear message has got to be sent out by the courts that those who make such allegations leading to the arrest and detention of perfectly innocent people must be marked out by way of being punished."
Why did she lie? Costello made the false rape claim after being spurned by the falsely accused man's friend. What did the falsely accused man do to deserve the rape lie? He tried to comfort her as she sat crying outside a nightclub.
Costello's lawyer said: "She accepts it is a serious offence but it was not a premeditated act. It was a spur of the moment act committed in drink."
If it was a "spur of the moment" act caused by alcohol, why did she wait more than a year to recant? Her lawyer offered this curious explanation: "When she found herself in that hole, she kept digging, and she regrets that."
According to a news report: "In an impact statement, the squaddie says his relationship breakdown means he now no longer sees his daughter as often as he did. 'It was not long before everyone I knew knew I had been arrested,' he says. 'That's when the name-calling began, and I got very stressed. I felt this was a personal attack, especially when it was from someone I didn't know. I don't think my partner 100 per cent believed me. Since my arrest my life has changed considerably as a direct result. The is a stigma attached to people alleged to have committed these offences. It may be years before I can remove that stigma.'"
Costello wept as she was being jailed.