An innocent man who was arrested after a woman he had never met made a false rape allegation spoke of his continuing ordeal after she was jailed yesterday.
Rosanne England, 21, tore her underwear, scratched her own face and then told police she had been attacked by a stranger who knocked on her door.
Retired engineer Derek Cummings matched the description of her ‘attacker’ and had no alibi because he had been walking his dog in woods alone at the time England said she was raped in May last year.
Rosanne England was jailed for 18 months at Winchester Crown Court after she admitted perverting the course of justice
He was arrested and detained for 28 hours before being released on bail.
After 24 days England finally admitted the allegation was untrue and Mr Cummings, 59, was exonerated.
However after England was jailed for 18 months yesterday, Mr Cummings said he still had trouble from people around his home in Fawley, Hampshire, who wrongly believe ‘there is no smoke without fire’. He said he could not go into certain pubs.
‘My family has been through hell,’ he said. ‘I have two teenage daughters who were doing their A-levels at the time. I do not want to see a 21-year-old woman jailed but she knew I had been arrested and I was totally innocent. I have mixed feelings about her.
‘I do not blame the police – they had to do a job. They were heavy-handed with me initially but they realised I was innocent and I knew DNA tests would clear me.’
Mr Cummings’s estranged wife Cheryl, 41, described the family’s ordeal as ‘a nightmare’.
Mrs Cummings, an office cleaner who separated from her husband before the rape claim, said: ‘Derek has been through hell and it’s likely to haunt him for ever. It’s ruined his life and he’s changed because it’s affected him so much.
‘But it’s still hard for us because mud sticks and we’ve both had to put up with comments and so have our children.’
Winchester Crown Court heard that 73 staff were involved in the investigation and the costs of forensic work and overtime alone totalled £14,000.
England, a former care worker who suffered from mental health problems, admitted perverting the course of justice at an earlier hearing and the court was told she was remorseful for the trouble she had caused.
Sentencing England, of Holbury, near Southampton, Judge Keith Cutler said: ‘You made a convincing complaint and as a result an innocent man was arrested, a man of good character, a family man.’
Source: Beth Hale, Daily Mail