AN Essex woman has been sentenced to a year in prison for lying to police about being raped.
In November 2012, and again in February 2013, Cathy Richardson, 26, told officers she had been sexually assaulted several times over a two month period in 2012 by a man known to her.
Subsequently, a man in his 20s from the Southend area was arrested on suspicion of rape but later released without charge following police interviews.
On Tuesday, 26 February unemployed Richardson was arrested at her home in Viking Court, Shoebury and charged in May with one count of perverting the course of justice. She was sentenced to 12 months in prison at Basildon Crown Court on Thursday, 8 August.
Senior Investigating Officer, DCI Scott Cannon, said:“When a false allegation of rape is made, it heightens the difficulty for those victims who have suffered from sexual abuse.
“The outcome of this prosecution should act as a very clear message to those people who deliberately lie to police and significantly hinder a major investigation. The actions of Cathy Richardson in this case led to an innocent man being arrested, having to spend time in a custody cell and undergoing an intrusive and personal medical examination.
“He had to endure the stigma of being suspected of a serious offence, only to be cleared of a crime he knew he had not committed.
“Detectives spent many hours of police time on this investigation which could have been better spent on protecting some of society’s most vulnerable victims and pursuing real offenders.
“People who make false and malicious allegations jeopardise the hard work that Essex Police and partner agencies have done to increase the confidence levels of victims reporting sexual crime. My team will relentlessly pursue every line of enquiry in a search for the truth and will always strive to bring sexual offenders to justice.
“I would like to reassure every victim of sexual abuse that Essex Police takes any report very seriously and will offer all the support and protection we can during every investigation.”