Monday, October 21, 2013

Woman apologizes for revenge rape lie

Story appears in Oxford Mail:

A WOMAN jailed for making a false rape claim says the lie cost her “everyone’s respect”.

Kirsty Debanks said she was in a “bad place” when she made the allegation against her boyfriend and regretted it instantly.

The 21-year-old – who alleged Chris Newitt raped her in her home last July – urged women not to make the mistakes she did.

A council sexual abuse boss last night said false allegations can put off genuine rape victims from going to police.

After the claim, Mr Newitt was arrested, interviewed and held for about six hours.

He declined to comment to the Oxford Mail last night. Debanks admitted attempting to pervert the course of justice at Oxford Crown Court in April.

Judge Ian Pringle was told friends inflicted fake injuries like scratches on her back after the group drank heavily and took crack cocaine.

But Mr Newitt’s alibi, that he was begging in George Street, Oxford, was confirmed by CCTV and she called police to confess on July 31. She told officers she wanted her ex-partner to “pay for everything he had done to her family”.

Sentencing her in May, the judge told her the “utter lie” had undermined real victims of rape.

Debanks – released in August from an eight months prison sentence – said: “I said it and I wanted to retract it straight away.

“But I was too scared to because I knew it was a serious allegation. Once I said it, it was like I had to carry it through.”

The Wood Farm resident said she fell into depression after her grandfather and father passed away within months of each other.

She said: “I regret what I did and I wouldn’t advise other girls to do what I did. I wasn’t thinking about what I was doing. If I wasn’t in a bad place I would never have said it.”

She added: “I lost everyone’s respect. I didn’t really care about my friends, but my family – that hurt me. It woke me up. I am working to get it back to this day.

“There are days when I don’t want to go out of the house because I am ashamed.”

Debanks – whose two children with Mr Newitt have been taken into care – lost grandfather Brian in February 2012 and dad Graham to cancer that May.

Then her uncle, Ian Simpson, was killed when he cut into an empty oil drum which exploded in College Way, Horspath, last July 27. Debanks says she suffers from depression and a multiple personality disorder.

Mother Rhea Debanks said: “She has openly admitted what she said was wrong and she has apologised from the start.”

Oxford City Council domestic and sexual abuse co-ordinator Liz Jones said women who make false claims should be “ashamed”.

She said: “We struggle to get these crimes through court. When real allegations come forward they are undermined by the false ones.”

Some false claims are the result of people with mental health problems or traumatic experiences, she said.

Det Supt Nora Holford, head of Thames Valley Police’s Protecting Vulnerable People unit, said: “We treat every allegation of rape seriously and will always investigate every allegation fully.

“On rare occasions, some allegations do turn out to be unfounded.”

The force said figures on false allegations were not available.