After filing a false rape allegation against an innocent man who had provided her with a taxi service, a young woman believed she’d get away with it by playing the victim card. However, as soon as she stepped in front of the judge, she learned her harsh fate.
When Laura Hood, 27, claimed that taxi driver Haroon Yousaf, 29, had pulled over on the side of the road and sexually assaulted her in the back seat, she knew she was lying. When the judge discovered this as well, it was time to make an example of her in case any other vindictive women were on the fence about filing a false rape report.
Men are more in danger of being falsely accused of sexual assault than ever. A destroyed reputation, job loss, and ostracization from one’s community and family are the softest of penalties the falsely accused might encounter. On the extreme side, registry as a sexual offender, mob justice, and even imprisonment threaten every man wrongfully accused.
After getting the innocent man arrested, destroying his reputation, and causing him severe anxiety, Hood was finally at the mercy of Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court Judge Julie Warburton, a civil servant who doesn’t tolerate abusing the justice system. Once undeniable evidence showed that Yousaf couldn’t have raped Hood, it was time to make her pay.
For the appalling crime of trying to put an innocent man in prison, Judge Warburton sentenced Hood to three years in prison after finding her guilty of perverting the court of justice, according to Manchester Evening News. Hood was in tears as she heard her sentence, but the judge wouldn’t allow her to be escorted into custody before receiving an earful.
Judge Julie Warburton told the defendant: “Rape is one of the most serious allegations that can be made about a man and making false allegations can ruin a person’s life overnight. Your actions have shown a blatant disregard for the rights of these men and the effects of making false allegations about people.”
Judge Warburton forced Hood to listen in silence as she chastised her for falsifying such a serious crime. The judge explained that even though the truth has been revealed, there are long-lasting effects that come with being wrongfully accused of sexual crimes, BBC reports.
“What you did strikes at the very heart of criminal justice,” Judge Warburton said. “It has a tendency to damage the public perception of justice and can impact on the administration of justice in rape cases generally. For these reasons I deem this offence so serious that only immediate custody can be justified.”
Hood was uncovered as a liar when Yousaf provided investigators with a tracking device, which was linked to his taxicab at the time. The device showed that his vehicle had been driven straight to Hood’s home in Stockport, where she lives with her parents, without stopping. This vital piece of evidence proved that Yousaf had not pulled over to get out of the car and rape Hood while she sat in the back seat.
During the trial, a jury heard a statement from Mr Yousaf in which he said: ”This still affects me in my day-to-day life and I don’t know if I will ever come back fully from this. Before this incident I was a strong person. When I pick up single female passengers I always worry that something could happen again. I had to take my clothes off in front of a stranger. I had tears in my eyes. I don’t think this female really understands what she has done and how it has affected my life.”
After Yousaf dropped off Hood at her home, she ran up to her mother and stepfather’s room and began sobbing uncontrollably, claiming that she had been raped. She then gave a statement to police in which she said that her assailant was an Asian male, aged about 58 with a thin face and no facial hair. Her claims led to two men being arrested and Yousaf ultimately as the prime suspect.
Hood’s false allegations were so egregious that it took a jury of 9 women and 3 men just a few hours to reach their guilty verdict. She finally admitted that she was never raped but denied that she had insisted she “believed” she was sexually assaulted at the time. Ultimately, there was never any explanation as to why she made the false claim.
Hood appeared remorseless over the fact that she has caused mental anguish and anxiety to an innocent man, nearly getting him locked up for a crime he didn’t commit. Additionally, her false claim has directly minimized actual sexual abuse and the victims who bravely come forward to report it.
There’s no telling why Hood made the allegation, although her attorney has blamed her “mild depressive disorder” and the death of a childhood friend. However, neither is a valid excuse for ruthlessly devastating an innocent stranger’s life.