Woman falsely accused taxi driver of rape, court finds

Laura Hood insisted she had false belief of 'something so clear in my head'

Samuel Osborne
Thursday 27 June 2019 01:12
Woman falsely accused taxi driver of rape, court finds

A woman who falsely accused a taxi driver of rape is facing jail after she was convicted of perverting the course of justice.

Laura Hood maintained for nearly two-and-a-half years she had been attacked in the back of a taxi before she finally accepted at her trial last week it could not have happened.

The 27-year-old continued to deny the allegation against her and said she was innocent because she had not knowingly lied and instead had a false belief of “something so clear in my head”.

However, a consultant forensic psychiatrist who saw Hood, of Stockport, as part of the case, concluded there was no medical or psychiatric explanation for her belief.

A jury at Manchester Minshull Street Crown found Hood guilty by a 10-2 majority verdict after deliberating for more than six hours.

Shortly after being dropped off home following a night out, Hood hysterically told her mother she had been sexually assaulted and then informed police she was attacked in the back of a black cab in a side-street.

Her version of events was exposed though when a tracker device fitted to the cab showed the vehicle made no detours apart from when Hood jumped out briefly to use a cash machine.

Prosecutor Geoff Whelan said the driver, Haroon Yousaf, could have found himself on trial for rape without the tracker data from the early hours of 8 January, 2017.

Mr Yousaf was kept in custody for 20 hours after he was arrested at a taxi rank on the evening of 8 January, while a second man was also arrested as he drove a taxi with a similar registration number and spent some 14 hours in custody.

Both suspects provided intimate samples as part of the investigation before they were later told no further action would be taken, jurors were told.

The court heard how Hood maintained she had been raped despite being confronted with the vehicle tracker data.

She also kept to her story when it was revealed Mr Yousaf was aged 29 at the time – and not in his 50s as she had described – and he had a full beard when she said her attacker had no facial hair.

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No forensic evidence gathered showed any physical contact between Mr Yousaf and the defendant.

The Crown said Hood had stuck with her lies for so long and events had “snowballed”.

Hood was bailed until 1 August for a pre-sentence report.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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