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Man served six years for rape he did not commit
A man served more than six years in jail after he was falsely accused of rape by a compulsive liar.
David Carrington-Jones was locked up for attacking a girl who went on to accuse her brother, step father, fiancee, a boyfriend and even a customer at work.
None of these cases were prosecuted and the girl was eventually cautioned by officers for wasting police time.
But Mr Carrington-Jones, 64, of Burgess Hill, was only cleared after completing six years and eight months of his 10-year jail sentence.
He had always denied the offences and was twice refused parole because he would not admit to the allegations. Mr Carrington-Jones only persuaded the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) to investigate the case upon his release.
Yesterday he was cleared by three senior judges who highlighted the dangers of false accusations.
Sir Igor Judge, sitting with Mr Justice Pitchford and Sir Richard Curtis, quashed his convictions and labelled the case "profoundly troubling".
The appeal court was told how Mr Carrington-Jones was convicted of rape and indecent assault against two sisters at Lewes Crown Court, in December 2000.
Sir Igor said that at his original trial Mr Carrington-Jones had "strongly and adamantly" denied any offence against either girl.
One of the girls, now 23, had since made complaints of rape against her brother, a customer at work, a boyfriend, her fiance and her step father. All of the allegations, made whilst Mr Carrington-Jones was in prison, were either unsubstantiated or false.
She admitted to police that she made up the allegations against her stepfather because she did not like him. As a result she received a caution for wasting police time - which led to Mr Carrington-Jones asking the CCRC to review his case.
After the hearing, Mr Carrington-Jones said: "I am very relieved that this ordeal is now over for me, but my heart goes out to other men and women who have been put inside because of false allegations they just can't challenge.
"I knew that I would not be released early unless I admitted these false allegations. I remained true to myself and the consequence was that five years later, in December 2005, I was refused parole, and the same thing happened again in December 2006.
"I was finally released on August 13, 2007, having served six years and eight months of the sentence. By then it had emerged that I am only one of many men against whom this complainant has made demonstrably false allegations."
Quashing the convictions, Sir Igor said: "This is a profoundly troublesome case. We can stand back and look at the issue of her credibility. A mere glance would determine that the new material would undermine any conclusions that a jury could have made on this girl's evidence.
"With the knowledge now before the court, her credibility is damaged beyond repair."
Even after the case was referred to the Court of Appeal there was another problem. In June, the girl made yet another complaint of rape against a former boyfriend.
According to a letter the court had received from police, a number of inconsistencies in her account were put to her and she accepted that her allegation had been false and could offer no reason why she had made it up.
Sir Igor emphasised that the court did not know the reasons behind the police decision to give her only a caution. He said it would only be in the "rarest of cases" that a police caution would sufficiently address the criminality of a false allegation of a serious sexual crime.
The judge went on to issue a warning about the consequences of false rape claims.
He said: "Rape is a repulsive crime. It requires substantial punishment. No one doubts that the victims of rape should be treated with every possible consideration by the criminal justice system.
"On the other hand just because rape is a repulsive crime, a false allegation can have very dreadful consequences for the innocent man who has not perpetrated the crime.
"But also - and this is not to be overlooked - because every occasion of a proved false allegation has an insidious effect on confidence in the truth of genuine complaints of rape."
Sir Igor however stopped short of naming and shaming the girl, in order that the identity of her sister - against whom no evidence of falsehood was produced - should be protected.