UK

Woman Falsely Accuses Taxi Driver of Rape, Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison

By GQ Pan

A woman has to serve three years in jail after accusing an innocent taxi driver of raping her.

Laura Hood, a 27-year-old British woman, was sentenced to three years in prison for perverting the course of justice at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester on August 1, reported the Daily Mirror.

“It has a tendency to damage the public perception of justice and can impact on the administration of justice in rape cases generally,” said Judge Julie Warburton, noting that Hood’s actions showed a “blatant disregard” for the rights of the men she accused and the effects of making such allegations.

Hood alleged the taxi driver, Haroon Yousaf, raped her after he drove her home from a night out in Manchester, in January 2017.

After the alleged incident, Hood, who got in the car alone, told her family and the police the then 29-year-old married father took a detour during the ride, pulled into a side street and raped her in the backseat of his cab.

Despite Hood’s accusation, the police found that her story did not match up with the taxi cab’s tracker data.

A tracker device fitted into Yousaf’s cab suggested the driver transported Hood straight to her Stockport home without taking any detour, apart from when Hood jumped out briefly to use a cash machine, reported ITV.

In addition, a court-appointed forensic consultant, upon performing checkups on Hood, concluded that no evidence showed any physical contact between Hood and her alleged attacker.

The Jury found Hood, who maintained she had been raped despite being confronted with the evidence, guilty of perverting the course of justice on June 26 by a 10-2 majority verdict after deliberating for more than six hours.

Yousaf told the court that following the allegation, he “suffered the indignity” for being handcuffed in front of friends and colleagues, held in custody for 20 hours without charge and forced to give “intimate samples”, according to Daily Mail.

“It still affects me in my day-to-day life. I don’t know if I will ever come back fully from this,” said Yousaf in a witness statement read to the court. “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,” said Yousaf, adding that he is now afraid to pick up female passengers as he can’t help but worry about being framed again.

Hood, on the other hand, said she had “no idea” why no evidence was found that could support her version of the story.

“I wish I knew. I wish I could explain why something so clear in my head,” said Hood in the court. “Obviously it can’t be true.”

Detective Constable Laura Hughes of Greater Manchester Police said Hood not only “put a completely innocent man through a dreadful ordeal”, but also wasted the time of law enforcement specialists, who could have directed their efforts into solving real crimes and helping real victims, reported Daily Mirror.

“Rape and sexual offenses are among the most intrusive and life-changing crimes to become a victim of,” said Hughes. “Clearly, Hood thought that they could be treated as something trivial, and made a false report on him.”