Belfast Telegraph

Tyrone woman cried rape to get a lift home with police

Northern Ireland woman avoids jail for false sex assault claims she made after night out

By Patricia Devlin

This is the Co Tyrone woman who lied about being raped — to get a lift home with police

Emma Louise Gallagher, 23, knocked on a stranger’s door last year and made the shocking claim following a night out in a town she was “not familiar with”.

The Strabane woman’s alleged attacker was arrested, questioned and held in custody for more than four hours before Gallagher admitted her story was a pack of lies.

But despite being convicted for perverting the course of justice over her fantasy claims, the 23-year-old from Ardnalee Park escaped prison.

Gallagher walked free from Dungannon Crown Court with a nine month suspended prison term after Judge Melody McReynolds considered a “combination of mitigating factors”.

A prosecution lawyer told the court on Tuesday how in September 2013 police were tasked to an address in Castlederg after a report a woman had been raped.

On arrival police were told how occupants of the house answered the door to a drunken Gallagher, who was unknown to them, who said she had been subject to a serious sexual assault.

Gallagher, who was described by police as “drunk, upset and confused”, repeated the claim to officers before giving the first name and description of her alleged attacker. That night a man was arrested, questioned and held in custody for more than four hours.

Gallagher was also interviewed the next day by specialist detectives.

It was then that she admitted her claims were pure fantasy.

Last week the court heard how her victim declined to make a victim impact statement and wanted to “simply put the whole incident behind him”.

Judge McReynolds said Gallagher’s claim had been “a gratuitous and lightly-made allegation to secure a free police lift home”.

She said such claims were “corrosive of the credibility of truthful complainants”,  adding false claims like Gallagher’s disillusioned “dedicated professionals who, on a daily basis, do this very wearing work”.

However, a combination of mitigating factors, including Gallagher’s poor health, and the fact that she did not persist with her claims, contributed to the judge’s decision to suspend the sentence for two years.


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