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Last Updated: Friday, 13 June, 2003, 15:44 GMT 16:44 UK
Hamiltons relieved as accuser jailed
Nadine Milroy-Sloan
Nadine Milroy-Sloan had denied perverting the course of justice
Neil Hamilton says he believes "justice has been done" after the woman who falsely accused him and his wife of rape was jailed for three years.

Trainee lecturer Nadine Milroy-Sloan, 29, from Grimsby, north Lincolnshire, was sentenced at London's Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court on Friday.

She had been found guilty of two counts of perverting the course of justice by a jury at the Old Bailey last month.

Mr Hamilton and his wife Christine 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.

'Serious offence'

The couple, who along with Mr Lehaney were cleared of any involvement, called the jail sentence "entirely appropriate" and said they were "pleased and relieved".

Mr Hamilton described Milroy-Sloan as "gold-digging", adding: "She has now been properly punished."

She deliberately set out to tell lies about us
Christine Hamilton

The former Tory MP for Tatton in Cheshire, 54, described the "horrible" experience of being arrested in August 2001, and the "humiliating" publicity which followed.

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.

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

His wife Christine said she was pleased "the judge has realised what a serious offence she had committed".

"She deliberately set out to tell lies about us and to cash in on it. She sold her invention to the newspapers."

But Mr Lehaney said the sentence was "nowhere near" long enough for the "nightmare" he had suffered.

'Emotionally unstable'

Judge Simon Smith, passing sentence, 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."

The Hamiltons

He added it was clear that Milroy-Sloan had been "planning to do something like this [falsely accusing the Hamiltons] from your arrival in London".

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.

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.

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

Anonymity protection

But as he passed sentence, Judge Smith 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".

She was sentenced to three years for each offence, to run concurrently.

Mr Hamilton said alleged rape defendants should be afforded the same anonymity as 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.

The Hamiltons were not in court for the sentencing.




SEE ALSO:
Hamiltons' accuser apologises
07 May 03  |  England



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