Margate: Woman Admits False Rape Claim

A woman who falsely claimed she had been raped in a park in Margate has admitted wasting police time.

Charmaine Ripley, 26, of Leslie Avenue, Margate, sparked a large-scale police investigation after claiming she was raped in Hartsdown Park, Margate, in the early hours of Saturday, 8 June 2013. Ripley told officers that a man had attacked her as she walked home from a local nightclub.

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 13 August Ripley was charged with wasting police time and on Monday, 30 September, she admitted the offence before Magistrates.

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."

The case was adjourned until Monday, 7 October for pre-sentence reports.