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Last Updated:  Monday, 31 March, 2003, 16:23 GMT 17:23 UK
Hamiltons' accuser 'sought fame'
Nadine Milroy-Sloan
Ms Milroy-Sloan has been called "naive and cunning in equal measure"
A woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted by former MP Neil Hamilton and his wife Christine was lying to gain celebrity status, a court has heard.

Nadine Milroy-Sloan, 29, made up a "fantasy" story because she sought fame and financial reward, the prosecution told the Old Bailey in London.

The prosecution has described her as "naive and cunning in equal measure".

The trainee college lecturer told police she was subjected to a sexual attack by the Hamiltons and 61-year-old arthritis sufferer Barry Lehaney.

The mother-of-four, from Peterhouse Road, Grimsby, Lincolnshire, denies two offences of perverting the course of justice.

She is accused of making false rape allegations to police knowing or intending the Hamiltons and Mr Lehaney might be prosecuted.

Orlando Pownall QC, opening the prosecution case, told the jury they had to be sure Ms Milroy-Sloan was not raped or indecently assaulted at all that evening by anybody.

"It is not necessary for the Crown to prove a precise motive for making the false allegations, although you may entertain no doubt that her actions were in some measure born of fantasy, but principally of a desire for financial reward and celebrity status," he said.

He added: "Having heard all the evidence you may well consider that the defendant suffers from a personality disorder."

Christine and Neil Hamilton
The Hamiltons were cleared of the rape allegation

The Hamiltons and Mr Lehaney, from east London, were arrested following complaints to police by Ms Milroy-Sloan but were later cleared of any wrongdoing.

Mr Pownall said she later told police she may have mistaken her attackers for the Hamiltons, who were totally innocent and had never met her.

"It follows that you will have to decide whether it is reasonably possible that the defendant was nevertheless raped by two people who bore such an uncanny resemblance to the Hamiltons that she could have honestly mistaken them," Mr Pownall said.

Prostitute

Ms Milroy-Sloan had met Mr Lehaney in an internet chat room. the court heard.

The pair had exchanged emails with Ms Milroy-Sloan calling herself 'Sexybabe' and Mr Lehaney using the nicknames 'Sir James Hamilton' and 'Lady Joan'.

"He had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Christine Hamilton and her husband," Mr Pownall told the jury.

Ms Milroy-Sloan claimed Mr Lehaney had told her she should come to London where she could earn up to 3000 a week as a prostitute. He also sent her a picture of naked model near a fireplace and called her 'Lady Hamilton'.

At the beginning of 2001 Ms Milroy Sloan had travelled to London to stay with relatives.

She told them she was in a sex ring involving barristers and a police officer, which were "grandiose and false accusations", the court heard.

She had also claimed she had been in touch with the 'Hamiltons' and redirected their mail. She did not name them but referred to a 'disgraced ex MP'

Evidence

Mr Pownall said Ms Milroy-Sloan went to see publicist Max Clifford in May 2001, three days before going to police.

She said she had been raped by the Hamiltons.

Mr Pownall said that Mr Clifford wanted evidence, and that if the 'Lady Hamilton' photo had been produced, Ms Milroy Sloan would have been "shown the door".

The defendant told Mr Clifford the Hamiltons had tried to recruit her as a prostitute and the couple were involved in a fraud against the Inland Revenue, the court heard.

"She was told that if she could substantiate her claims she might receive in the region of 100,000," said Mr Pownall.

When she went to police, she claimed she had been raped and indecently assaulted at Mr Lehaney's home in Ilford, east London.

The consequences of a concocted allegation of rape upon those falsely accused were devastating
Orlando Pownall QC

She said her attackers included a woman named Joan, a man called James and an unknown man.

Ten days later, after seeing newspaper pictures of the Hamiltons, she identified the former Conservative MP for Tatton and his wife, Mr Pownall told the court.

Mr Pownall told the jury the allegations were false.

Mr Lehaney was arrested on 7 May and the Hamiltons on 10 August.

Mr Pownall added: "As you can imagine, the consequences of a concocted allegation of rape upon those falsely accused were devastating."

The Hamiltons will not be giving evidence after proving they were not at the flat. They had spent the early evening at Claridges hotel in London, and later hosted a dinner party at their home.

The trial continues.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Asad Ahmad
"She say's it was carried out by Neil and Christine Hamilton look-alikes"



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