A woman who had a man arrested after falsely accusing him of rape, has today been sentenced.
Janet Higginbottom (born 19/02/75) of Coombes View, Broadbottom, Hyde pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice at an earlier hearing.
Today, Tuesday 11 September 2012, she was sentenced to fifteen months in jail at Manchester Crown Court Crown Square.
At 2.30am on Saturday 26 November 2011, Janet Higginbottom called 999 and told police she had been raped in the Levenshulme area by a man that she knew.
The call lasted for more than 20 minutes, during which time officers went to the scene, found Higginbottom and brought her back to the station so she could receive specialist help and support.
Higginbottom told officers she had seen her ‘attacker’ in town and he had followed her and raped her on the street. She said he then drove off in a car, which she provided the registration number for.
Due to the seriousness of the allegations, a thorough investigation was launched immediately to find the suspect and the vehicle.
The woman was taken to see a doctor and councillor at St Mary's Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Manchester, which supports those who have been victims of rape.
At 3.50am that morning, the man that Higginbottom had accused was arrested at his home address in front of his partner and his car was seized for forensic examination.
The alleged crime scene was guarded overnight by an officer for almost eight hours and significant inquiries were then carried out by a team of detectives.
The scene was forensically examined by a crime scene investigator, house to house enquiries were conducted on the street surrounding the scene and CCTV from the local area was trawled.
Police made enquiries to trace those who had been out with Higginbottom that night and those who had been with the man accused of attacking her.
The man was then interviewed by detectives after spending several hours in a police cell.
The investigation highlighted a number of serious inconsistencies and when asked about these, Higginbottom later admitted she had lied about the rape and it hadn’t happened.
Detective Constable Ian McNabb, of Longsight CID, said: "Higginbottom falsely accused a man of raping her, when in reality he was at home when the alleged offence took place.
“Due to her lies, not only did this man have to endure the shame of being arrested in front of his partner, but he also spent 11 hours in a police cell and had to deal with the associated stigma of being accused of such a grave offence.
“Thankfully though, our thorough inquiries were quickly able to establish the truth. But a lot of police time, effort and money was wasted on this false rape investigation when it could have been better spent helping genuine victims of crime.
"The scope of our investigation in this incident proves how thoroughly we investigate all reports of rape and I hope this woman’s inexcusable actions in no way deter genuine victims from coming forward.”
Anyone who has been a victim of rape or sexual assault can contact Greater Manchester Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency. GMP has specially trained officers in place to provide a first class response to victims and help support them through the criminal justice process.
St Mary's Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Manchester, can also be contacted on 0161 276 6515. This provides a comprehensive and coordinated forensic, counselling and medical aftercare service to anyone in Greater Manchester who has experienced rape or sexual assault. Services are available on a 24-hour basis and people can access them either as a self-referral or via Greater Manchester Police.