Page last updated at 18:06 GMT, Thursday, 4 March 2010

Stroud woman jailed over false rape claim

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Jail for false rape claim woman

A woman from Gloucestershire who falsely claimed to have been raped has been sentenced to two years in prison.

Gail Sherwood from Thrupp, near Stroud, twice claimed she had been raped, and also accused a man of stalking her.

She claimed she had been found tied up and sent text messages to friends saying she was in trouble.

Sherwood, 52, was found guilty of three counts of perverting the course of justice at Bristol Crown Court in February.

As part of the investigation, police installed covert CCTV outside her house, which proved that she had not been abducted, but had left by herself.

You have shown yourself to be cunning and deceitful
Judge Julian Lambert

Sentencing Sherwood, Judge Julian Lambert said: "Within a tortured mind you created a malicious lie. You deliberately wrongly identified a man as your stalker.

"Gratified by the attention you received you went on to make up a rapist. You have shown yourself to be cunning and deceitful.

He said there had been a "huge waste of police resources" and that the case would "fuel scepticism in accounts of women who have been genuinely abused."

Found half-naked

During the trial, Sherwood told the court she had been stalked by a man who she had been involved in a minor road crash with on 12 April 2008.

This led to the arrest of the man, who was detained for 20 hours before being released without charge.

Sherwood told police she was dragged off to woods by a man with a weapon who then raped her, as she returned to her car from walking her dogs on 25 April 2008.

On 1 June 2008, she claimed she was hit over the head, taken to a remote spot in her car and raped.

On one occasion, she was found naked from the waist down with gaffer tape over her mouth and her hands tied behind her. A police helicopter found her half-naked behind a fence on another occasion.

In court, Sherwood said police had lied to her and had manipulated the evidence.



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