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A Southampton woman, who told police she had been raped in her own home by a stranger after being followed home, has admitted she fabricated the whole story.
Police launched a major investigation called Operation Meru to catch the man responsible after the incident was reported to have happened on February 2, this year in the Wimpson Lane area of Millbrook.
The force's major crime department took on the case which gained a lot of local media attention at the time and many officers from Southampton were also involved.
From the evidence detectives investigating gained they became aware the rape could not have happened as they had been told. They arrested the woman and in interview she admitted she had made the story up.
She has now been given an official caution for perverting the course of justice.
Detective Sergeant Steve Spencer from the Major Crime Department said: "As a direct result of the thorough investigation we conducted it became clear that this reported rape had not occurred. The time spent investigating this incident should have been used on a genuine case. It is very disappointing that we had to waste our time and resources on this matter but at least the residents in the Wimpson Lane area can be reassured that the reported rapist does not exist."