Woman who made 10 false rape claims sparking 60 police probes is jailed for five years

A woman who made ten false rape claims against two men which sparked 60 police investigations has been jailed for five years.

Cathy Richardson, 35, made a series of allegations against the two men between January and May 2021, leading to one being arrested and made subject to a forensic examination.

Using CCTV and phone data, officers found the alleged attacker was not in the area at the time Richardson alleged the assaults took place.

Richardson, of Westcliff, Essex, was arrested on May 28 last year and later charged with perverting the course of justice.

She admitted 10 counts at Salisbury Crown Court and was sentenced to five years and one month in prison.

Detective Inspector James Holmes, who led the investigation, said: “Whenever an allegation of rape or sexual assault comes to us, our starting point is to believe the person making that claim.

“They are awful offences and have a massive impact on those who’ve experienced them, and we have specialist officers and staff who support them and investigate.

“To begin with, Cathy Richardson’s claims were no different and we carried out our enquiries with compassion and empathy.

“However, it quickly became clear the allegations Richardson had made were not what they seemed.

“Her claims do a great disservice to victims of rape and sexual assault who need our help and support and they have had a huge impact on the lives of the two men she had accused.

“Her allegations led to a significant number of investigations which took up a huge amount of time and resources which we would have preferred to have directed towards helping genuine victims who really do need us.

“I sincerely hope this case does not put off victims of rape and sexual assault, who really need our help, from reporting offences to us.

“I want to reassure you that you will be believed, we will support you, and we will investigate what has happened.”

A spokesman for Essex Police added the force was “dedicated to tackling violence against women and girls in Essex”.

He added: “We have dedicated officers across the county – whether they specialise in investigating sexual or domestic abuse, offer a uniformed respond to immediate reports of violence, or officers and staff members who are on the other end of our 999 calls.

“They work together to reassure and protect victims and bring violent perpetrators to justice. “We know there are some people who do not feel comfortable reporting crimes to the police, and it’s on us to gain and maintain trust.”