A roofer falsely accused of rape by his ex-wife has spoken of his relief after she was convicted of lying about the attack.
Hannah Berry – who was yesterday spared jail – was caught out when her husband turned detective and used a ‘spy watch’ to record her admitting she had lied.
The evidence captured was used to convict 24-year-old Berry of two counts of perverting the course of justice.
Judge Michael Murphy QC, sitting at Sheffield Crown Court yesterday told Berry he had been planning to send her to jail after she was found guilty by a jury.
And he condemned her ex-husband Stuart for using the internet to retaliate.
Christopher Tehrani, mitigating, said Mr Berry uploaded the confession video shown in the trial on website YouTube and spoke of his ‘disgust’ at the likelihood of a suspended sentence on social media.
Handing her a suspended sentence, Judge Murphy said: “At the outset of the trial I was asked to give an indication of sentence and I took the view it had to be immediate custody – anyone who makes a false accusation of rape puts them in a situation where they could be charged, come to court and get sentenced.
“But as the case has proceeded I have realised this is an entirely different set of circumstances.
“I have read the details of your relationship and while you are not wholly blameless you seem to have been subject to some abuse. However all this is not reason for making a complaint of rape.”
Mr Berry, aged 42, spent just more than 24 hours in police custody after his wife told police he had raped her in 2011.
He was never charged, but remained on bail for three months and the ordeal forced him to leave Sheffield.
Speaking exclusively to The Star, he said: “The last few years have been hell. I was living a nightmare and not waking up.
“I can’t believe what she put me through. It’s a horrible thing to be accused of.
“I ended up moving out of Sheffield – it ruined my family’s life.
“If I’d been convicted I could have been sent to jail for up to eight years. The thought of it just made me ill.”
The couple met while Stuart was working at Forgemasters in Sheffield where Berry is an electrical engineer.
They married at Sheffield Register Office in 2010 after nine months of dating.
However, the couple, then of Parson Cross, had a rocky relationship and fell out in 2011, when Mr Berry accused his wife of seeing another man and threw her out of their home.
Mr Berry said: “I did a really silly thing. I was angry and showed her a picture of another woman wearing her wedding dress. Looking back it was stupid.
“Four days later I was arrested for rape.”
Although he was banned from contacting her, Mr Berry was determined to clear his name.
He sent her a message on Facebook asking why she had made the false allegation and she apologised and agreed to meet.
When they met he was wearing a spy watch, which recorded her admitting she had lied to the police.
Mr Berry, who has since remarried, gave the recording to the police – and seven months after he was arrested the rape allegations were dropped.
Berry, of Netherfield Close, Deepcar, Sheffield, broke down in the dock as she was given a 12-month jail term, suspended for a year.
She was also ordered to attend Sheffield’s Together Women project for 10 months.