Page last updated at 14:33 GMT, Monday, 30 March 2009 15:33 UK

Woman in false rape claim jailed

A woman has been jailed for 20 months over a false allegation of rape.

Alesha Watkins, 20, claimed Darren Ball, 25, attacked her after a party at Rushden, Northamptonshire, in December 2007.

Mr Ball spent 19 hours in custody and made four court appearances over seven months, Northampton Crown Court heard.

Watkins admitted perverting the course of justice. Judge Charles Wide QC said her lies had left a completely innocent man accused of rape.

After reporting she had been raped Watkins told police that she was withdrawing her complaint because a £3,000 contract had been taken out on her life.

Threats were being made against her because she had approached police, she said.

But this was another lie, the court was told.

In fact, Watkins, of Tewkesbury Drive, Rushden, had consented to sex with Mr Ball.

A completely innocent 25-year-old man of good character was accused of rape falsely
Judge Charles Wide QC

She had been drinking alcohol and taking cocaine before they became involved in a "play fight" at his home that led to sexual intercourse, the court heard.

Prosecuting, Alex Bull said: "She said she had not been raped, and lied because she had regretted having sex with him.

"She said she hadn't enjoyed it but hadn't said 'stop' at any time."

Reading out a victim impact statement, the lawyer added: "It has had a significant impact on Mr Ball.

"He has had difficulties in his relationship since this time. He began to drink heavily.

"He said he began to feel suicidal. He's now in a relationship but blames this on his break-up with his ex-partner. He now only sees his children on school holidays."

'Emotionally unstable'

Judge Wide said: "Having made this false allegation of a very serious kind, it went on and on.

"A completely innocent 25-year-old man of good character was accused of rape falsely.

"You told another pack of lies which, had they been believed, would have made the matter even worse for your innocent victim."

Lisa Collins, in mitigation, said her "emotionally unstable" client was "genuinely sorry" for what she had put Mr Ball through.

"She tends not to think about the impact on others. She quite clearly gave no thought about the impact of this on Mr Ball."

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