A criminology student has been jailed for 16 months for falsely telling police a cab driver sexually assaulted her.
Sophie Pointon, 22, called police in the early hours of April 22, reports The Telegraph. She told them she had been molested in the back of the cab that had picked her up and proceeded to sign a statement describing the fictitious attack.
Prosecutor Kate Bisset said the driver described Pointon as "extremely drunk" in an interview. She was holding a kebab when she got in the taxi and later threw money that was covered oil from the food at the driver.
The driver refused to accept the oil-covered money, which he said prompted Pointon to become abusive and to run around the cab opening the doors.
"He did not think much of it at the time because such incident with people who are intoxicated are not unusual," Bisset said.
A conversation between the driver and a phone operator at his taxi office supported his statements. A GPS tracker that the cab had been outfitted with also showed that Pointon's account of what occurred that night was false.
The driver, the father five children, was tracked down and kept in custody for six hours after Pointon's call to the police.
"I am now extremely reluctant to take lone females in case I am accused again," he told the court in Leeds, England, according to Metro. "The girl who accused me is the same age as my own daughter -- I cannot comprehend why she made this allegation."
"I feel religiously tainted from this, and no help from the police or the courts can help that," the driver, who is a devout Muslim, continued.
The driver was stripped of his taxi license for four weeks and was unable to work. He also said that he was shunned by his friends in the community.
"Friends stopped speaking to me and letting me into their homes," he said. "People in my community do not even want to be seen with me."
At one point, Pointon reportedly broke down in tears and asked if she could drop the charges against the driver after her account was challenged by police. She later pleaded guilty to preventing the course of justice and was sentenced to 16 months in prison.
Denise Breen-Lawton, who was mitigating the case, said Pointon's dreams of becoming a police officer were now dashed.
"Your malicious complaint has done a huge disservice to those seeking justice through the police and courts," Judge Christopher Batty said to Pointon.