A British woman who claimed she was raped by a taxi driver was found guilty of perverting the course of justice and sentenced to three years in prison for making her false accusation.
Laura Hood, 27, claimed in 2017 that a taxi driver attacked her and raped her in the back of his cab. On the night of the alleged attack, Hood “hysterically told her mother she had been sexually assaulted and then informed police she was attacked in the back of a black cab in a side-street,” according to British news outlet ITV.
The driver, who will not be named by The Daily Wire, was arrested and held in custody for 20 hours while police investigated Hood’s claims. A second man was also arrested because his taxi’s registration number was similar to the first driver’s. The second man was held for 14 hours in police custody. Both men provided DNA samples to prove their innocence.
Hood’s story fell apart due to vehicle tracker data. She had claimed the driver had made a detour to attack her, yet the data showed no such detours apart from one where Hood exited the vehicle to use an ATM. Hood also claimed the driver who raped her was in his 50s, yet the driver was only 29. She also said her attacker had no facial hair, yet the accused man had a full beard.
Despite the evidence disproving her claim, for two-and-a-half years, Hood maintained that she had been raped — even through her trial. She cried on the witness stand and said the sexual assault examination she underwent after the alleged incident was “awful,” ITV reported. She also said she had “absolutely no idea” how male DNA on her underwear didn’t belong to either of the men named in the case.
Hood finally accepted that her claims were false at the end of her trial, saying: “I wish I knew. I wish I could explain why something so clear in my head … obviously it can’t be true.”
A forensic psychiatrist told the court there was no medical or psychiatric reason why Hood should have believed she was raped when she wasn’t.
Hood cried as she was found guilty of perverting the course of justice at the end of June.
Judge Julie Warburton thanked the jury and told them, “It is quite apparent to me that it has not been easy for any of you.”
The BBC reported that Warburton said during Hood’s sentencing on August 1 that what she did “strikes at the very heart of criminal justice.”
“It has a tendency to damage the public perception of justice and can impact on the administration of justice in rape cases generally,” Warburton added, according to the BBC.
Defense attorney Thomas McKail said Hood had been mildly depressed and used alcohol and drugs to cope with her troubles, but Warburton argued that she had to “balance those mitigating factors against the impact on two innocent men.”
The main suspect said he didn’t know if he could ever fully recover from the false accusation, according to ITV.
“It still affects me in my day-to-day life. I don’t know if I will ever come back fully from this,” he said. “Before this incident I was a strong person. However, I’m now negative and worry that things can go wrong. This is the most disgusting thing that anyone can be accused of. When I pick up single female passengers I always worry that something could happen again.”