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Thursday, April 22, 2010, 09:01
A GRIMSBY woman claimed she was raped by a friend – and then admitted making it up, a court heard.
Kelly Walsh, 22, rang a helpline from a telephone box in Freeman Street to claim she had been attacked by Lanny Powell, 45, at his home.
The operator alerted the police and Mr Powell was arrested, subjected to “intimate sampling” and held in custody for hours.
But Walsh – who was taken to a specialist police rape unit in Hull and given counselling – changed her story and admitted lying, saying: “I don’t know why I did it.”
She pleaded guilty to a charge of perverting the course of justice by making the rape claim at Grimsby Crown Court and was sentenced to a year in jail, suspended for two years.
Jeremy Evans, prosecuting, said the National Domestic Violence Helpline received a call on January 22 from a woman stating she had been raped.
The helpline operator alerted Humberside Police and officers met Walsh in Freeman Street, where she accused Mr Powell of raping her.
She told police she was in a relationship with serving soldier Ben Hallett and said her grandmother had died a few days earlier – claims which were later found out to be untrue.
The court heard how Walsh and Mr Powell had lived at The Salvation Army Hostel in Brighowgate, Grimsby, two years ago.
They were in a relationship which broke up when Mr Powell accused her of stealing money from him.
On the date of her false rape claim, she visited Mr Powell’s flat, had a shower and went to bed while Mr Powell stayed up watching television.
Walsh claimed she was woken up by Mr Powell removing the quilt and lying on top of her and said he then raped her.
In interview, Mr Powell denied the allegation and said he had offered Walsh a place to stay. He said they had had sex, but it was consensual.
When police spoke to Walsh’s mother, she confirmed the grandmother was still alive, the court heard. The defendant was confronted with the facts by police and she changed her story, telling officers: “I don’t know why I did it.”
She said she had not taken her medication for depression.
The court heard she had 15 convictions for a total of 32 offences of dishonesty.
For Walsh, Richard Butters said she was responded well to counselling and probation officers’ support for her offending. This has included a trip to Alton Towers, as well as abseil and rock climbing experiences.
He added: “She is a far better individual than before.”
Sentencing, Judge Simon Jack told her: “It led to a man being arrested by police and being interviewed and intimate sampling and put in custody for 24 hours and it was another 24 hours before he was released. That must have been a terrible experience for him.”
Walsh will continue to live supervised at a bail hostel in Leeds.