UK & World News
Law Graduate Faces Jail Over Rape Lies
A law graduate who accused her boyfriend of rape so she would have an excuse for doing badly in her bar exams is facing jail after being found guilty of perverting the course of justice.
Rhiannon Brooker, 30, of Frampton Cotterell, South Gloucestershire, falsely claimed Paul Fensome, 46, had forced her to have sex with him on 11 occasions and faked injuries to suggest he beat her.
The Birmingham City University law graduate also alleged her then-boyfriend had caused her to miscarry by punching her in the stomach.
During the eight-week trial at Bristol Crown Court, jurors were told Brooker made the claims up because her party lifestyle led her to fail her bar assessments.
The court heard Brooker sat the first four of her 12 assessments for the bar course, and then persuaded a committee to let her sit the rest at a later date due to extenuating circumstances.
Mr Fensome, a 6ft 8in heavy metal fan, was arrested, charged and held in custody for 36 days before police realised there was no evidence against him.
Prosecutor David Bartlett told the court: "One of the reasons for her false allegations was that she was living an active social life in Bristol and not doing the work required to pass the assessments."
Mr Fensome, a Birmingham railway signalman, had denied the assaults, describing them as a "load of rubbish" and had "cast-iron alibis" for the dates, the court heard.
Brooker did not want to see him in court. When he gave his evidence she sat behind a screen in the dock.
Mr Fensome told jurors: "We had a loving relationship and the sexual relationship was the same. I've never hit another woman in my life. I didn't force sex on her in any way."
Speaking after her conviction, Mr Fensome said he hoped Brooker "gets a decent sentence".
He described the moment he was arrested by police as "shocking and unbelievable".
"I spent eight days in Winson Green prison and I had two weeks on bail and they came at midnight and took me down to Bristol where I spent another 30 days in Horfield prison," he said.
"My life was literally destroyed. Her parting words to me were 'One day you will grow to hate me'.
"That day has been and gone. I have no feelings for her. After today her name will never be mentioned again."
He added: "I was annoyed and disgusted and I lost faith in the justice system and I had no trust in the police."
Brooker eventually withdrew the rape claims, confirming they were false, and admitted injuries seen by witnesses were self-inflicted.
Brooker denied 20 charges of doing an act tending and intended to pervert the course of justice between May 2011 and January 2012. The charges related to 11 made-up claims of rape, eight assaults and one of false imprisonment.
The jury took nearly 21 hours to find Brooker guilty of 12 charges related to five false rape claims, six assaults and one of false imprisonment.
The jury were unable to reach verdicts on the other eight charges; Judge Lambert ordered those counts to lie on file.
Brooker is to be sentenced later in June.