JO DAVISON: Woman who terrified a whole community is fined £80

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A frightened community found out this week that it did not have two rapists in its midst, but a deluded liar.

As a result, the people of Darnall are angry and appalled. And you can understand why.

They had felt only sympathy for the woman when she claimed she had been raped by two strangers in woodland just yards away from homes on Greenland Road.

And for their families, they felt fear – a very natural response. If one woman had been pounced upon and raped, others could be at risk.

They wasted no time in pressing police to get out there and catch the culprits. Meetings with police held at the local community centre were heated; everyone wanted to know what was being done to protect local women and children.

At the same time, many of those people were offering support to the woman.

And then they discover it was all lies.

Feelings in Darnall serve to illustrate only part of the harm that women do when they falsely cry rape. Innocent men can have their lives ruined – and women who do suffer the violation and humiliation of a sexually motivated attack have a much harder time getting people to believe them.

Every time a rape defendant stands trial, defending solicitors point out to the jury that false allegations can and do happen.

Each and every false claim is actually another nail into the conviction rate of rapists.

One top judge feels so strongly he has called for anyone who cries false rape to be jailed.

Yet the woman who struck fear into Darnall, who got two men falsely arrested and wasted police time and resources, got just an £80 fixed penalty notice and the privilege of anonymity – something she does not deserve.