CRISIS groups have hit out at a Northwich woman who falsely accused a man of raping her.
Supermarket security guard Abigail Gibson, 22, accused colleague Mark Berry of attacking and raping her as she locked up. She later admitted she had made up the lie simply because she didn't like Mr Berry.
Gibson, of Church Road, was last week jailed for two years after pleading guilty at Chester Crown Court after it heard she had previously accused three other men, including her father.
Mr Berry was arrested in September on suspicion of rape and spent a night in custody, throughout which he protested his innocence. Speaking after his ordeal, Mr Berry told the Daily Mail that his 'whole world was turned upside down'.
'Since the arrest, I get terrible flashbacks to what happened and keep crying about it,' he said. 'I was detained in a custody suite overnight. It was very cold in the cell and I felt terrible.
'I should not have been there in the first place. I was unable to sleep and totally confused. I was terrified about what would happen to me.'
He was temporarily suspended from work and made to feel like a pariah until the charges were dropped. Having been confronted with major flaws in her account of the attack Gibson withdrew her wrongful complaint. Mr Berry added: 'It took a lot of time to trust people again and it has changed my attitude to women.'
Support groups welcomed the sentence. Stephen Cooper, who founded Legal Appeal after being falsely accused of a sex crime, said: 'False allegations can have a devastating effect on people and can destroy their lives. They take away a person's freedom and can also have an effect on the true victims of crime - we've all heard about the boy who cried wolf.
'Obviously, the police have done a good job in this case but a lot of forces are understaffed and can't do their job properly. I believe there should be a register of people who make false accusations and I welcome prison sentences for these people, though they should get longer than two years. People who are jailed for rape would get at least five years so people who make up lies and destroy the lives of those they accuse should get the same.'
A Rape Crisis spokeswoman said false allegations can also have an adverse effect on the cases of women who had genuinely suffered while Det Insp Debbie Dodd said: 'False allegations are investigated fully which not only takes valuable police time away from the investigation of genuine cases, but also plants the seeds of doubt in the minds of other victims considering reporting a sexual offence.'