A trainee barrister has been jailed after being found guilty of falsely accusing her former boyfriend of a series of rapes and assaults.
Sentencing Rhiannon Brooker, 30, to three and half years, the judge Julian Lambert said she had acted in an “utterly wicked” way and argued that false claims made it more difficult for real rape victims to be believed in court.
There was anger from women’s rights campaigners who claimed that such severe sentences would put off rape victims from going to the police for fear they could face prosecution if allegations were not proven. There were cries of “Shame” and “Miscarriage of justice” as Brooker’s sentence was handed down.
Brooker’s former partner Paul Fensome, a railway signalman, was held behind bars for 37 days after she accused him of a string of rapes and assaults. While in custody, Fensome was held in a secure wing after rumours went around that he was a paedophile. He has since received £38,000 compensation.
Alibis, evidence from Fensome’s phone and his work shift patterns undermined Brooker’s accounts. Injuries were judged to have been self-inflicted and the police dropped their investigations into Fensome and turned their attention on Brooker.
Brooker initially told police she had made false accusations. But when she was charged with perverting the course of justice she retracted her confession. She was found guilty of 12 offences relating to false allegations of five rapes, six assaults and one false imprisonment.