Friday, November 06, 2009

Woman Posts Explicit Pics Online for Sex - Then Cries Rape

A woman who posted explicit photographs of herself on the web and then falsely claimed a man she met online had raped her has been jailed for nine months.

Beverley Stephenson's false allegation sparked a full police investigation, including house-to-house inquiries, a poster campaign, and a press appeal.

Stephenson, 42, from Horden, Sunderland, admitted perverting the course of justice between April 5 and May 14, last year.

Judge John Evans, passing sentence, said: 'People who make false allegations such as these undermine the criminal justice system, and there are serious implications for genuine victims.

'Your fabricated claims completely undermined the investigation into your own allegation of rape.'

He added: 'All of this is of your own making. You could have called a halt to it at any time. I am told you have psychological and other difficulties, but they cannot excuse what you did.'

Stephenson wept as she was jailed and had to be helped from the dock as she was led away.

Prosecutor Amanda Rippon said Stephenson initially told police she did not know the identity of her alleged attacker.

She later falsely indicated he might have been a member of a family with whom she had fallen out.

'Her accounts resulted in the arrest and questioning of three men,' Mrs Rippon added. 'At least two of the men were kept in custody for several hours.

'Each of the men said being implicated, albeit wrongly, in a rape has caused them embarrassment and difficulties with their own friends and families.'

Police became suspicious of Stephenson when she claimed hair pulled from her head in the attack actually came from her hairbrush.

The court heard she had sex in her lounge with the man she met online, but the evidence suggested it was consensual.

Alexia Zimbler, defending, said: 'This is an unusual case in that Ms Stephenson still maintains she was raped.

'But she accepts the way in which she misled the police made it impossible for that allegation to be properly investigated.

'She was ashamed and embarrassed by the way she met this man, and feared the police would not believe her or take her seriously if she told the truth about that.'

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