A London woman has been sentenced to ten years behind bars for falsely accusing six men of sexual assault and nine others of rape, one of whom even served jail time over the lie.
In July, 25-year-old Jemma Beale was found guilty of four counts of perjury and four more counts of perverting the course of justice. Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith handed out "manipulative" Beale's sentence on Thursday.
Beale made the series of false claims within a three-year period, creating four different phony incidents.
"This trial has revealed, what was then not obvious, that you are a very, very convincing liar and you enjoy being seen as a victim," said Judge Loraine-Smith.
"The prosecution described your life as a ‘construct of bogus victimhood,'" he added.
Beale was said to be sitting with her arms crossed during the sentencing.
"These offenses usually began as a drunken attempt to get your partner’s sympathy or perhaps to arouse her jealousy," explained the judge. "They each began impulsively, but what is particularly chilling is the manner in which you persisted in making allegations which you knew were untrue even to the extent of committing and repeating perjury."
Judge Loraine-Smith also noted the disservice Beale has done to actual victims of rape.
"These false allegations of rape, false allegations which will inevitably be widely publicized, are likely to have the perverse impact of increasing the likelihood of guilty men going free," he explained. "Cases such as this bring a real risk that a woman who has been raped or sexually assaulted may not complain to the police for fear of not being believed."
Prosecuting attorney Madeleine Wolfe told the court that "police spent 6,400 hours investigating Beale’s claims at a cost of at least £250,000, and the trial cost at least £109,000," notes The Independent.
Beale is maintaining her innocence, said defending attorney Lawrence Henderson, adding that the 25-year-old will likely appeal the sentence.
"Ms Beale stands by the claims she made in this matter and if she had her time again she would again plead not guilty to these matters and contest the trial," said Henderson.
An investigation into the rape hoaxer began in December 2013, after a former girlfriend of Beale's told police that her ex had lied about being raped by a man who was serving jail time over the incident. The Independent reports:
Police said the information came to light when officers were investigating a separate allegation by Beale, where she claimed to have been raped by a number of men during an incident in November 2013.
With concerns over Beale’s account, officers carried out a review of four investigations into allegations of rape and sexual assault made by Beale.
Police found common discrepancies and similar circumstances within the allegations, which strengthened their suspicions that Beale may have fabricated them.
Mahad Cassim, a victim of Beale's, was wrongfully convicted of rape in 2010 and served seven years behind bars over the lie.
"After the CPS and his defence team were alerted to the fact there were serious doubts over the validity of Beale’s allegations, the man subsequently appealed against his conviction and it was quashed at the court of appeal in July 2015," reports The Independent.
"One of my goals is to be a successful businessman, to have a nice family and be happy. I am working on the happiness — I have a long way to go," said Cassim.
In July 2012, Beale falsely claimed Noam Shahzad, a stranger, groped her in a pub before she was gang-raped by Shahzad and a group of other men. Beale even injured herself in effort to sell the phony story in which she claimed to be cut with barbed wire.
In 2013, Beale leveled similarly false allegations against six other innocent men.
And two months after that, the habitual liar falsely claimed to be the victim of another gang rape by four men after she was sexually assaulted by two strangers.