Man freed over rape 'that almost certainly never happened'

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The Independent Online

A man who has spent nearly 15 years in jail for the brutal rape of a student nurse was cleared and freed today after the Court of Appeal held that the crime "almost certainly never happened at all".

Roy Burnett, 56, a gardener from Bromley, Kent, was jailed for life at the Old Bailey in 1986 after a jury accepted evidence from the 20-year-old nurse that she had been raped and seriously assaulted.

Burnett refused to admit his guilt, but had no grounds for an appeal until 1998 when the same woman made a false complaint of rape to Devon police.

The Metropolitan Police were informed and Burnett's case was re-opened.

But for the action of the police, he "might have continued to be incarcerated for many years yet", said appeal judge Lord Justice Judge today.