Nelson woman behind bars after false rape claim

A WOMAN who cried rape and got her partner and a friend locked up has started a four-month jail term.

Burnley Crown Court heard Dana Doherty called police and claimed her then boyfriend, Ben Stanworth, and Martin Massa had pinned her down on a bed and forced her into sex.

Both were arrested, medically examined, kept in the cells and questioned before she admitted it was not true, the court heard.

The court was told Doherty had had consensual sex with Mr Massa at her boyfriend's home after leaving a party but had not had sex with Mr Stanworth.

She later told police she had been angry with Mr Stanworth after a row and wanted to hurt him but had no reason to accuse Mr Massa.

Doherty, who has convictions for attacking her father and sister, was said to have a personality disorder. Her solicitor pleaded for her to keep her freedom and said she was on the waiting list for treatment.

But Judge Andrew Woolman told Doherty: "If ever there was a case when it would have been possible for a judge to take the view a non-custodial sentence was possible for this kind of offence, this may well have been it.

"But I have come to the conclusion, however much sympathy I have for your position, which I do, these cases end up inevitably with the judge passing a custodial sentence."

The defendant (22), of Townhouse Road, Nelson, had admitted attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Miss Mercedeh Jabbari (prosecuting) said Doherty rang police from a call box, claiming she had been raped. Mr Stanworth was arrested at his home at 5 a.m. and Mr Massa was detained hours later. Both denied having non-consensual sex with Doherty.

Police took the defendant to the Safe Centre, Preston, where she was medically and forensically examined.

When police went to speak to her, she had been reluctant and told them: "This was all sorted out last night." And before she was about to be interviewed, she indicated her account had not been correct.

The men had been in custody for up to 12 hours.

The court was told Doherty told officers Mr Stanworth had given Mr Massa his keys to take the defendant home to calm down after a row at a party. They had gone to Mr Stanworth's home and had sex before returning to the party where she had rowed with Mr Stanworth.

At the time of the offence, Doherty was subject to a conditional discharge, imposed after she tried to "strangle" her sister.

Mr Graeme Tindall (defending) said Doherty was on the waiting list for cognitive psychological treatment and should be getting help within three months.

The solicitor added: "A custodial sentence will not address the root cause of her offending behaviour."