The following quote, is exactly why we are here:
“The effects on an innocent man of the false allegation were not intended, but must have been devastating for him."
The 21-year-old woman's rape claim resulted in a 14 month police investigation costing thousands of pounds
A Birmingham student whose false rape claims resulted in one of Britain’s most expensive sex attack investigations has been told by judges that she deserved to be sent to prison.
The 21-year-old woman, who cannot be identified, cried rape after friends found her looking dishevelled upon her return from a night out. She told them she had been attacked.
Although the student, who was on a course at the University of Reading, did not point the finger at anyone, the ensuing police investigation led to a man being arrested.
He was entirely innocent but spent the night in police cells until he was able to prove he was elsewhere at the time of the spurious rape.
The Thames Valley Police probe continued for 14 months, and became one of the force’s most expensive investigations. Costs included £20,000 on forensics and nearly £7,000 on gathering and analysing CCTV footage.
The Birmingham student eventually confessed she had lied, and was jailed for 15 months at Reading Crown Court in November last year, after she admitted perverting the course of justice.
But last week she challenged her jail term, with her lawyers arguing that it should be suspended in light of her troubled history, and new evidence which has recently surfaced.
Her appeal was dismissed by judges, who said that, barring “exceptional circumstances”, anyone committing an offence involving a false allegation of rape must go to prison. They explained that such lies undermined justice, wasted police time and risked innocent people being prosecuted.
Describing the case as ‘tragic’, Sir Colin Mackay told the court that the young woman was seen by a group of friends walking alone as she returned home from a night out in late 2011.
The court heard that they were concerned by her appearance and, when they asked what was wrong, she told them she had been raped on the university campus.
Her allegation triggered a huge police investigation and the judge said that, in addition to the money spent on gathering potential evidence, a large number of police man hours were wasted.
The investigation also resulted in an innocent man being arrested as a result of forensic material found close to where the student claimed she had been raped. He was never charged but spent a night in police cells before he was able to demonstrate he had been nowhere near the scene at the time of the alleged incident.
Lawyers for the woman urged the court to suspend her sentence, saying there was evidence which had recently surfaced which meant she could be spared the pain of remaining behind bars.
But, dismissing her appeal, Sir Colin said such offences had to be treated seriously and would result in a jail term in all but the ‘most exceptional’ cases.
Sitting with Lord Justice Jackson and Mr Justice Simon, he added: “The effects on an innocent man of the false allegation were not intended, but must have been devastating for him.
“There is also the fact that such allegations operate so as to reduce the confidence of the public and the criminal justice system in rape victims, who have a genuine allegation to be investigated and dealt with.
“Thirdly, there is the massive waste of police resources and manpower, needed elsewhere for the investigation of genuine crimes.”