A woman who falsely accused a taxi driver of sexual assault after he refused to accept her kebab-soaked £10 note has been jailed for 16 months.
Sophie Pointon, 22, who has a BA Honours in criminology and dreamt of becoming a police officer, made the false allegations against the taxi driver after he picked her up from a night out in Leeds.
She rang 999 and told police she had been groped by the driver in the back of the cab in the early hours of April 22 this year and continued the deception by signing a statement, giving an account of the ‘attack’.
The Asian taxi driver was tracked down by police and held in custody for six hours.
In a moving victim impact statement he described how he was shunned by his local community after the allegations and says the claims had left his life in tatters.
The Asian father-of-five told the court through a personal impact statement that he was a practising Muslim – and the accusations had caused him to be shunned.
He was also banned from entering the homes of his colleagues and friends.
He said: ‘I am now extremely reluctant to take lone females in case I am accused again.
‘The girl who accused me is the same age as my own daughter – I cannot comprehend why she made this allegation.
‘I feel religiously tainted from this, and no help from the police or the courts can help that.
‘Friends stopped speaking to me and letting me in to their homes. People in my community do not even want to be seen with me.’
The driver was also stripped of his taxi licence for four weeks during the investigation into the claims.
The case against him never went to court after a telephone recording of the incident, with his taxi firm, cleared him of any wrongdoing.
Pointon pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and was handed a prison sentence yesterday.
Kate Bisset, prosecuting, said the driver was interviewed and said he could recall Pointon being ‘extremely drunk’ when she got into his car holding a kebab.
He said Pointon threw £10 note at him when they reached the Hyde Park area but he refused to accept it as it was covered in oil from the kebab.
She then became abusive towards him and ran around the car opening doors.
The prosecutor said: ‘He did not think much of it at the time because such incident with people who are intoxicated are not unusual.’
The court also heard a GPS tracker in the taxi also revealed Pointon’s description of the journey to be untrue and when challenged by police during an interview she broke down in tears and asked if she could drop the charges.
She pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice. Denise Breen-Lawton, mitigating, said Pointon, from Manchester, had been studying in Leeds at the time.
Judge Christopher Batty told her: ‘Your malicious complaint has done a huge disservice to those seeking justice through the police and courts.’