Tuesday 17 September 2019

Woman who falsely accused four men of sexual assault jailed

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Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A woman who originally walked free after falsely accusing four men of sexual assault has been jailed for four years.

Anna Costin, 30, of Shrewsbury, was originally given a three-year community order after pleading guilty, in January, to seven charges of doing acts intending to pervert the course of justice.

Her case was referred to the Court of Appeal in London on Wednesday on the basis that the sentence was unduly lenient.

Imposing the term on Costin, who was not in court but must surrender to custody tomorrow, Lady Justice Hallett said that although the judge at Shrewsbury Crown Court recognised the consequences for the victims, he placed too much emphasis on Costin's problems.

She added: "All of the allegations were thoroughly investigated and, thank goodness for the men concerned, they were able to prove their innocence and the falsity of the allegations but, obviously, with devastating consequences for them."

Between January 2016 and March 2016, Costin reported to the police seven allegations against four men - four of rape, two of sexual assault and one of assault.

One of the accused was particularly vulnerable because of learning difficulties and another was away on holiday at the time of the alleged offence.

The men said the allegations had affected their relationships with women and led to them suffering abuse, lost sleep and being in need of medication.

Costin, who has previous convictions mostly involving harassment, has self-harm issues going back to childhood and suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autistic spectrum disorder and borderline personality disorder.

Her difficulties led to impulsive attention-seeking behaviour, the appeal judges heard.

Commenting on the sentence increase, Solicitor General Robert Buckland - who referred the case, said: "False rape allegations have a serious impact not only on the lives of the accused, but can also have an indirect but profoundly damaging effect on genuine victims of rape.

"It is important that Costin's sentence reflects the gravity of her crimes."

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