Belfast Telegraph

Woman who cut herself with razor and claimed she'd been raped is jailed

By Michael Donnelly

A woman who sparked two police investigations costing nearly £20,000 after she slashed herself with a razor and claimed she had been raped has been jailed.

June Plunkett was sentenced to nine months after she admitted falsely reporting to police that she had been raped on September 9, 2006.

The 40-year-old – who lived in Anguis Street, Antrim, at the time – had claimed she was on her way to her local shop and was crossing waste ground when a man attacked her from behind.

He grabbed her by the throat forcing her to the ground, she had said. He then straddled her and using what she described as an old-fashioned razor, slashed her across the chest and abdomen, before raping her.

Although Plunkett, now living in Blackpool, later made a video-taped police interview and provided a photo-fit, officers noticed there were inconsistencies in her story. Prosecution lawyer George Chesney said that although a DNA sample was matched to a man, it was later accepted that he had had consensual sex with the woman some time before the alleged attack.

The lawyer added that no one was found responsible for the 2006 attack, which sparked a second police investigation in 2011.

Plunkett's injuries were looked at again and it was concluded they were, or could have been, self-inflicted and "that this rape had not happened". Both investigations cost the force more than £19,000 and 300 man hours.

Judge Desmond Marrinan told Plunkett that such "shocking selfish and cruel" false claims "cannot go unpunished".

The Antrim Crown Court judge told Plunkett that "a cynic may say you were looking for compensation... with tens of thousands of pounds being paid out to genuine victims".

"Rape is a dreadful crime and victims should be treated with every possible consideration by the criminal justice system.

"On the other hand, just because it is such a repulsive crime, a false allegation can have truly dreadful consequences.

"The worst possible scenario – an innocent man is arrested, incarcerated, and loses his good name. Fortunately, that did not happen here.

"Every occasion of a proven false allegation has an insidious effect on public confidence on genuine complaints and it may encourage people, including potential jurors, to question and doubt the allegations from genuine victims". Defence lawyer Michael Brady said Plunkett had a difficult and violent childhood and was abused by a family member, who was subsequently convicted.

In later life her marriage was also abusive and at the time she was a very vulnerable person.

Judge Marrinan said the custody threshold had clearly been passed, and despite the seriousness of her crime he had decided "to stay my hand because of the very harrowing experiences you have had in a difficult life".

Plunkett had pleaded guilty last month to perverting the course of justice between September 2006 and February 2011.

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