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A woman from Margate charged with wasting police time after falsely claiming she had been raped has been sentenced.
Charmaine Ripley of Leslie Avenue in Margate, sparked a large-scale police investigation after claiming she was raped in Hartsdown Park in Margate. Ripley told officers that a man had attacked her as she walked home from a local nightclub in the early hours of Saturday 8th June 2013.
An investigation followed which involved over 30 officers. A 'crime scene' was cordoned off at the park and a fingertip search of the area was conducted by specially trained officers. Hours of work went into attempting to find forensic evidence to support Ripley's claims but as officers investigated the alleged attack, clear inconsistencies in her account of the incident began to question the validity of her allegation. When officers raised these issues with Ripley, she admitted that she had not been raped.
On 13th August, Ripley was charged with wasting police time and on Monday 30th September, she admitted the offence before Magistrates. Today she was handed a 120 day prison sentence, suspended for 1 year and ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work. She will also be subjected to a supervision order.
Detective Inspector Gavin Moss of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: 'Ripley wasted hundreds of hours of police time by falsely claiming she had been raped.
'Police conducted house-to-house investigations, speaking with residents who were clearly alarmed and worried about an attack which, as it transpired, had never occurred. In addition to this specially trained officers and forensic teams worked at the scene, they are a valuable and much needed resource which could have been used helping genuine victims of crime.
'We take all reports of rape extremely seriously; it is a crime which often has a devastating impact on the victim. We use every available resource to us to both support the victim and see justice is served. Every time a false allegation is made, it takes away from the genuine victims who need our help.'