FALSE-RAPE COM­PLAINT MUM JAILED

Western Mail - - FRONT PAGE - ADAM HALE news­desk@waleson­line.co.uk

AMUM-OF-THREE had sex with a teenager in a pub­lic toi­let – then falsely claimed he’d raped her af­ter he re­fused to start a re­la­tion­ship with her.

So­phie Skin­ner told Da­mon Os­borne she could get him into “trou­ble” when he said he would not be her “part­ner” af­ter they had sex dur­ing a night out.

Yes­ter­day 25-year-old Skin­ner was jailed af­ter be­ing convicted of per­vert­ing the course of jus­tice fol­low­ing two crown court tri­als ear­lier this year.

The judge in the case said the false com­plaint had an “in­sid­i­ous ef­fect” on the con­fi­dence of the pub­lic with gen­uine rape com­plaints.

Skin­ner was found guilty of per­vert­ing the course of jus­tice in Septem­ber af­ter an ear­lier trial ended in a hung jury.

New­port Crown Court heard Skin­ner had gone to a Wether­spoon pub in Aber­gavenny alone in June 2016 where she was seen on CCTV “look­ing for at­ten­tion” be­fore com­ing across Mr Os­borne, who was 18 at the time, and his friend.

The three chat­ted be­fore Skin­ner made her way to an­other bar but she came across Mr Os­borne again later that night while he waited for a lift home.

Skin­ner asked him if he wanted to have sex with her, which he agreed to, and the pair went into nearby toi­lets where CCTV caught her ini­ti­at­ing sex. When Mr Os­borne de­clined her re­quest to be­come her new “part­ner” be­cause he had a girl­friend Skin­ner told him she could get him into “trou­ble”.

Skin­ner then went to an­other bar where she was again cap­tured on CCTV “des­per­ately look­ing for at­ten­tion from oth­ers” be­fore re­turn­ing to the Wether­spoon pub and telling door staff Mr Os­borne had raped her.

Pros­e­cu­tor Owen Wil­liams read a vic­tim im­pact state­ment from Mr Os­borne, in which he said he was kept in po­lice cus­tody for 17 hours and sub­jected to “em­bar­rass­ing” med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tions af­ter the com­plaint was made.

Mr Os­borne said: “It’s turned my life up­side down. Yes I had sex with her but I was not ex­pect­ing to be ac­cused of rape be­cause it was con­sen­sual. I was given a cur­few on bail which had an im­pact on my work and so­cial life. One em­ployer said he no longer re­quired me be­cause I couldn’t work the hours.

“Yes I did wrong by my part­ner and I feel ashamed by my ac­tions.

“I knew I was in­no­cent, but it didn’t stop me think­ing about the worst-case sce­nario and be­ing sent to pri­son for some­thing I didn’t do.

“If there was no CCTV in this case she may have been be­lieved and I would be spend­ing years in pri­son. It would have ru­ined my life.”

Mar­ion Lewis, de­fend­ing, said Skin­ner had given no ex­pla­na­tion about her com­plaint but de­scribed her as a “vul­ner­a­ble young woman” due to her be­ing taken into care as a child.

Ms Lewis said: “Her par­ents were not ca­pa­ble of look­ing af­ter her and her sib­lings. They were not prop­erly fed. She still suf­fers from an eat­ing disor­der.”

Ms Lewis said Skin­ner had three young chil­dren, the youngest be­ing one, who were be­ing looked af­ter by her part­ner.

Judge Daniel Wil­liams said it was “com­mend­able” po­lice dropped Skin­ner’s com­plaint so soon af­ter it was made and to pros­e­cute her for her lies. But he said her false com­plaint had “dread­ful con­se­quences” for her vic­tim.

The judge said: “When Mr Os­borne gave in to your per­sis­tent de­mands for sex, you said you could get him into trou­ble for hav­ing sex with you. CCTV footage could not have been clearer. You ini­ti­ated sex with him. Rape is a re­pul­sive act.

“Vic­tims of rape should be treated with ev­ery pos­si­ble con­sid­er­a­tion by the jus­tice sys­tem. But equally a false al­le­ga­tion can have dread­ful con­se­quences.

“Ev­ery oc­ca­sion a proven false al­le­ga­tion is made can have an in­sid­i­ous ef­fect on pub­lic con­fi­dence in gen­uine com­plaints. You have no vic­tim em­pa­thy or re­morse at all.”

Skin­ner, from Wood­land Cres­cent, Llan­foist, Mon­mouthshire, was sen­tenced to 18 months in jail.

> Mother-of-three So­phie Skin­ner, 25, out­side court

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