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Last Updated: Friday, 13 June, 2003, 12:42 GMT 13:42 UK
Hamiltons' accuser jailed
Nadine Milroy-Sloan arriving at court
Milroy-Sloan had denied perverting the course of justice
The woman who accused former Tory MP Neil Hamilton and his wife Christine of rape has been jailed for three years.

Trainee lecturer Nadine Milroy-Sloan, 29, from Grimsby, north Lincolnshire, was found guilty of two counts of perverting the course of justice by a jury at the Old Bailey last month.

The Hamiltons were arrested in 2001 after the mother-of four told police she had been raped by them, 62-year-old Barry Lehaney and a man called Andrew in Mr Lehaney's flat in Ilford, Essex.

The Hamiltons, who along with Mr Lehaney were cleared of any involvement, said they were "pleased and relieved" at the sentence.

She has now been properly punished
Neil Hamilton

Judge Simon Smith, sentencing Milroy-Sloan, said: "It's becoming too easy for people to sell fake allegations about well-known people to the press, and the courts have to deal with it firmly."

At London's Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court, he handed down a sentence of three years for each offence, to run concurrently.

'Gold-digging'

Looking pale and drawn, Milroy-Sloan, dressed in a grey trouser suit, bowed her head slightly as the judge passed sentence.

Judge Smith told her it was clear that she had been "planning to do something like this [falsely accusing the Hamiltons] from your arrival in London".

The Hamiltons

The Hamiltons, who were not in court to hear the sentence passed, said it was long enough to "send the right signal" to all would-be liars.

Mr Hamilton, former MP for Tatton, Cheshire, described Milroy-Sloan as "gold-digging".

"She has now been properly punished," he said.

He told the BBC he hoped the sentence would serve as a deterrent to anyone tempted to try to make money by inventing allegations and selling them to the tabloid press.

'Cunning fantasist'

He also called on the Press Complaints Commission to look at the issue of people being paid for stories containing sensational, but unproven, allegations.

Mr Hamilton also said there should be the same anonymity for alleged rape defendants as existed for alleged victims.

It was wrong that Milroy-Sloan had been able to profit by waiving her anonymity "as if it were a commodity to be traded", he added.

Milroy-Sloan had faced a maximum sentence of seven years for each charge.

During the trial, the prosecution described Milroy-Sloan as "cunning" fantasist who had come up with her scheme to find fame and fortune.

She originally visited publicist Max Clifford on 2 May 2001, alleging she had been raped by the Hamiltons, who wanted to recruit her as a prostitute.

Mr Clifford told her she should go to the police if she had evidence.

'Emotionally unstable'

Three days later she contacted police in Peckham saying she had been raped by a couple called Joan and James, who she later identified as the Hamiltons.

She then sold her story for 50,000 to a Sunday newspaper in which she waived her right to anonymity, saying she wanted to "stand up and be counted".

In mitigation on Friday, Martin Heslop QC said Milroy-Sloan showed traits of emotionally unstable and histrionic personality disorders.

But the judge told her she had attempted "to get money and fame by dragging in the Hamiltons, whose names had been very much in the public eye at the time when, as the jury found, you knew perfectly well they weren't there".

At her trial, Milroy-Sloan apologised to the Hamiltons, saying she did accept she could have made a mistake.

In December 2001, Milroy-Sloan pleaded guilty at Grimsby magistrates court to assaulting a woman outside a kebab shop in Cleethorpes.

The jury was told she had four previous convictions in total, but none of a sexual nature.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Ben Thatcher
"Judge Smith said Miss Milroy-Sloan had come to London with the purpose of making money"



SEE ALSO:
Hamiltons' accuser apologises
07 May 03  |  England
Profile: Neil Hamilton
10 Aug 01  |  Politics



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