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Woman jailed for false rape claim

A mother-of-three was jailed for 18 months today for falsely claiming she had been abducted and raped because she was worried her husband would find out that she had a one-night stand.

Nicola Osborne, 32, of Winchester Road, Portsmouth, Hampshire, had told police that she had been bundled in a car by a stranger and taken to a public toilets where she was forcibly raped on July 5 last year.

But Portsmouth Crown Court heard that Osborne had made up the story because she was worried her husband would find out where she had actually been.

The hearing was told that Osborne, who had been drinking, was walking home that evening when she began talking to a stranger in the street.

She went home with him where they engaged in "extensive sexual activity" and swapped telephone numbers with him before she left.

But it was as she walked home that she became upset as she realised the potential consequences on her marriage from the fling.

Passers-by found her in a distressed state in the street and contacted police who she then told that she had been the victim of a stranger rape.

Martin Booth, prosecuting, told the court that a major police investigation was launched which used a total 548 hours of police man-hours.

He said: "Other investigations had to be put on the back-burner as police resources had to be diverted to this case."

He explained that a 26-year-old man was arrested after DNA samples taken from Osborne matched those taken from him for a previous minor criminal offence.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was arrested and detained for 12 hours.

His victim impact statement, which was read to the court, said: "I remember sitting in the cell and the door slamming shut.

"It's a horrible feeling, you feel like you are the only person in the world, I felt very frustrated as I knew I had done nothing wrong. I found it very humiliating."

He added: "People like her make a mockery of women who have really been raped."

Osborne pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to a charge of perverting the course of justice.

Sentencing her, Judge Roger Hetherington said she had become "entangled" in her lie.

He said: "I believe it suddenly hit you what the potential consequences were as to what you were going to be able to tell your husband about what you had been doing and a possible fear of pregnancy."

He added that a custodial sentence reflected the seriousness of the offence which led to a "vast deployment of police manpower" and caused "intense anxiety" for the victim.