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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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False rape claims left Carlisle residents in fear of going out

Carlisle's top detective says two false rape claims in as many weeks left people in fear of going out.

Takara Jayne Harding photo
Takara Jayne Harding

Detective Chief Inspector Lee Johnson also said the lies led to worries there was “a rapist on the loose” in the city.

DCI Johnson was speaking after Takara Jayne Harding yesterday appeared in court to answer for her false claim - one week after another woman, Chloe Jayne Fox, was sentenced.

Both women had lied about being raped in the city centre last autumn, sparking widespread concerns and leading to the waste of hundreds of hours of police time.

DCI Johnson said: “These claims caused hysteria, causing a lot of frightened people not to come into town. There was a combined impact in the city of Carlisle. The public perceived that there was a rapist on the loose, when there wasn’t.”

The claim by Harding led to a large part of Town Dyke Orchard car park and West Walls being cordoned off. Harding was taken to be examined by a specialist doctor. Various officers were drawn into the case at huge public expense.

DCI Johnson added: “Offences of stranger rape are extremely rare in Cumbria. These crimes are taken seriously and significant resources are provided to investigate them thoroughly.

“The case received a high profile. It generated an element of fear within the community of a repeat offence.”

DCI Johnson said Harding’s report was treated with respect. He added: “Genuine victims should not be put off from coming forward. Please tell us if you are a victim.”

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