Monday 17 December 2018

Mum jailed for making false rape accusation against 18-year-old man

Stock picture
Stock picture

Adam Hale

A mother has been jailed for 18 months after she falsely accused a teenage boy of raping her.

Sophie Skinner, 25, had been found guilty of perverting the course of justice following two crown court trials earlier this year.

Newport Crown Court heard on Friday the mother-of-three had sex with victim Damon Osborne, who was 18 at the time, in a public toilet before telling him she could get him into "trouble" after he refused to be in a relationship with her.

The judge in the case said the false complaint had an "insidious effect" on the confidence of the public with genuine rape complaints.

Skinner was found guilty of perverting the course of justice in September after an earlier trial ended in a hung jury.

Skinner had gone to a Wetherspoons pub in Abergavenny alone in June 2016 where she was seen on CCTV "looking for attention", before coming across Mr Osborne and his friend.

The three chatted before Skinner made her way to another bar, but she came across Mr Osborne again later that night while he waited for a lift home.

Skinner asked him if he wanted to have sex with her, which he agreed to, and the pair went into nearby toilets where CCTV caught her initiating sex.

When Mr Osborne declined her request to become her new "partner" because he had a girlfriend, Skinner told him she could get him into "trouble".

Skinner then went to another bar where she was again captured on CCTV "desperately looking for attention from others", before returning to the Wetherspoons and telling door staff Mr Osborne had raped her.

Prosecutor Owen Williams read a victim impact statement from Mr Osborne, in which he said he was kept in police custody for 17 hours and subjected to "embarrassing" medical examinations after the complaint was made.

Mr Osborne said: "It's turned my life upside down.

"Yes I had sex with her, but I was not expecting to be accused of rape because it was consensual.

"I was given a curfew on bail which had an impact on my work and social life.

"One employer said he no longer required me because I couldn't work the hours.

"Yes I did wrong by my partner, and I feel ashamed by my actions.

"I knew I was innocent but it didn't stop me thinking about the worst case scenario and being sent to prison for something I didn't do.

"If there was no CCTV in this case she may have been believed and I would be spending years in prison. It would have ruined my life."

Marion Lewis, defending, said Skinner had given no explanation about her complaint, but described her as a "vulnerable young woman" due to her being taken into care as a child.

Ms Lewis said: "Her parents were not capable of looking after her and her siblings.

"They were not properly fed. She still suffers from an eating disorder."

Ms Lewis said Skinner had three young children, the youngest being one, who were being looked after by her partner.

Judge Daniel Williams said it was "commendable" police dropped Skinner's complaint so soon after it was made and to prosecute her for her lies.

But he said her false complaint had "dreadful consequences" for her victim.

The judge said: "When Mr Osborne gave in to your persistent demands for sex you said you could get him into trouble for having sex with you.

"CCTV footage could not have been clearer. You initiated sex with him.

"Rape is a repulsive act. Victims of rape should be treated with every possible consideration by the justice system.

"But equally, a false allegation can have dreadful consequences.

"Every occasion a proven false allegation is made can have an insidious effect on public confidence in genuine complaints.

"You have no victim empathy or remorse at all."

Skinner, from Woodland Crescent, Llanfoist, was sentenced to 18 months in jail.

Press Association

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