A 23-year-old woman was recently found guilty of making a false rape claim in an attempt to get a lift home from police. Emma Louise Gallagher invented the story after finding herself in a town she was not familiar with.
The incident occurred in September 2013, when Gallagher was in Castlederg, a town in Northern Ireland. After she knocked on a door and told the residents that she had been raped, the police were called.
Upon arrival, the police questioned Gallagher, who repeated her allegation. She gave the first name and a description of a man she had been with earlier.
Officers described Gallagher as "drunk, upset and confused."
When specialist detectives quizzed her the following day, she acknowledged that the story had been made up and that nothing had happened. This confession came too late for the man she accused, who had already been in custody for four hours.
The case was heard at Dungannon Crown Court, where Gallagher was convicted of perverting justice. The judge handed down a nine-month sentence, which was suspended for two years. This means Gallagher will avoid prison time.
Justifying her ruling, the judge explained that the crime was grave and undermined both genuine rape complainants and the professionals who work to investigate such crimes. Gallagher was guilty of making “a gratuitous and lightly-made allegation to secure a free police lift home,” the judge told the court. But she accepted that Gallagher had not persisted in her allegations, and that she was in poor health.
The court also heard that in spite of being held on false allegations, the man accused of rape by Gallagher had not wished to pursue the matter. He had wanted to “simply put the whole incident behind him,” the BBC reported.