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Made-up rape claims ‘devalue true victims’, claims Cumbrian charity

False rape claims make it even harder for the real victims of the crime to come forward for fear that they will not be believed.

That’s the view of Carol Tindall, chairman of the Cockermouth-based West Cumbria Rape Crisis Unit, who spoke out after two women admitted making up rape claims in Carlisle, sparking huge police investigations and fear on city streets.

Takara Jayne Harding, 18, of Low Meadow, Raffles, Carlisle, pretended she had been the victim of a terrifying sex attack in a Carlisle car park and was in court on Monday where she was given a suspended prison sentence.

A week earlier, Chloe Jayne Fox, 20, of Spencer Street, admitted she had lied when she said she had been dragged into an alley and brutally raped.

Ms Tindall said: “It’s detrimental. It puts the police to a lot of trouble and effort. It devalues true victim and gives them a hard time.

“There is the fear that they won’t be believed. With rape, it’s usually one word against another. “When you have got people like this who make false accusations – whatever the reason – then it all adds up in people’s minds. Is she telling the truth is she not?

“I think it discourages a lot of people from going to the police.”

Ms Tindall also suggested that punitive financial measures could be put in place for those who have made false rape claims as a deterrent.

The officer in charge of the investigations, detective chief inspector Lee Johnson, said they did not want the cases to deter genuine victims from coming forward.

“When these two women reported to police that they had been sexually assaulted, we took them seriously,” he said.

“We conducted a large scale investigation with teams of detectives working long hours to gather evidence and question suspects and witnesses. It was only when we began to uncover evidence in each case to suggest that the incidents had not in fact taken place that we began following alternative lines of enquiry.

“Giving a false crimes report to police is a rare but serious offence and the fact that these were reported to us separately but within a short period of time added to the scale of the investigation and the worry amongst young women.”

He said the effects of the false claims ‘could be felt in the whole community.’

“It caused unnecessary fear and people around the city were concerned,” DCI Johnson added.

“We do everything possible to protect and support victims and we will investigate any reports we receive of sexual assault thoroughly.

“It is a result of our dedication to conducting full investigations that, in these unique cases, evidence came to light that the crimes did not happen.”

Harding had lied about being raped after her boyfriend texted her to say they were finished.

She had claimed she was dragged and raped along a lane at Town Dyke Orchard car park, below West Walls, on October 1.

She admitted causing the wasteful employment of police and was sentenced to 16 weeks in custody, suspended for a year, and given a community order which will include six months of supervision.

Chloe Jayne Fox, who admitted the same charge, was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for 12 months.

Have your say

No. Made-up rape claims destroy innocent lives, those of men.

Posted by Bram on 14 May 2012 at 12:27

You people can't be serious. Send a woman to jail, when you government has actually discussed closure of all women's jails? If you government doesn't think putting female murderers behind bars is unnecessary, then surely you can't believe a few trivial lies would warrant jailtime. Besides, don't you think these poor girls have been through enough? Imagine the shame they must feel at getting caught. The embarrassment of having to sit in court. And the financial costs of legal counsel, assuming the government didn't pay for that too, or a rape crisis center (the story never seems to mention how much support Carol Tindall and her organization gave these girls before they got convicted)

Posted by Mark Neil on 12 May 2012 at 03:39

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