Woman jailed for three years over false rape claim

Monday 01 November 2010 14:49 GMT

A woman who falsely claimed her ex-boyfriend raped her after giving her a Pringles sandwich laced with diazepam was jailed for three years today.

Kate Woodhead, 31, carried out her "devious" revenge against Paul Joseph after he told her their 18-month relationship was over, Guildford Crown Court was told.

Woodhead, who ran livery stables in Surrey, went to police with a friend in April 2009 and told them Mr Joseph had drugged her before attacking her.

She then stole belongings of his worth about £25,000, including an expensive stereo and art prints, and transferred ownership of his Porsche 911 sports car and BMW motorcycle to her own name, intending to sell them.

Mr Joseph was arrested and questioned by police but the rape allegation was dropped when officers became suspicious that Woodhead had made it up. She was then arrested herself and was found guilty after a three-week trial.

Judge Neil Stewart told Woodhead, who remained impassive during the sentencing, that the offence was so serious he had no option other than to send her to prison.

He said: "It seems to clear to me that the implication of the jury's verdict is that they accepted the prosecution's case, which was that the offences which form the indictment were all part of a deliberate, and indeed vindictive, campaign waged by you against Mr Joseph as retribution against him in order to secure personal gain for yourself.

"These offences therefore must be seen as devious and manipulative and you are wholly unrepentant."

Woodhead, of Bracken Lodge in Wisley, Ripley, Surrey, had denied perverting the course of justice, two counts of theft and one of fraud by abuse of position, but was convicted by a jury earlier this year.

The court also heard that Woodhead falsely claimed her former partner had entered her details on a prostitution website.

Judge Stewart told Woodhead during the sentencing: "You claimed you were enrolled by him on a prostitution website when the evidence strongly showed that it was you who did that as a means of making some additional income."

The judge told Woodhead that falsely accusing a man of rape can have "very serious" consequences, not only for him but for genuine rape victims.

He said cases such as Woodhead's may make a jury more reluctant to convict a man of rape, as it could put doubts in their mind.

The three-year sentence given to Woodhead for perverting the course of justice was intended to act partly as a "deterrent", Judge Stewart added.

She had shown a "different side" to her character, leaving her friends and relatives "surprised, astonished and appalled", he said.

Woodhead, who had no previous convictions, was sentenced to a total of 12 months for the theft offences and three months for the fraud. The sentences will run at the same time as the three-year sentence for perverting the course of justice.

Mr Joseph was arrested in May 2009, with the case referred to the Crown Prosecution Service that July. It was the beginning of September the same year that he was told no charges were to be brought.

Speaking after Woodhead was sentenced, IT consultant Mr Joseph said: "I spent most of the year not working. You can't work being on bail.

"They may say it was £25,000 of items, but it was everything I owned."

None of Mr Joseph's belongings were recovered, the court was told.

He said he thought the sentence was "about right", and added: "She stooped pretty low. I've just got to get on.

"At the end of the day, she brought it upon herself. Relationships end every day. If someone wants to walk away, you've got to respect it."

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