By SAM GREENHILL
An innocent man jailed for a sex attack was dramatically cleared after it emerged that his ‘victim’ is a serial liar with a long history of crying rape.
But because of laws that protect her anonymity, judges are powerless to name and shame her, leaving her free to make more false accusations against blameless members of the public.
Mr Blackwell, 36, hugged his loyal wife Tanya and wept as the Appeal Court quashed his conviction.
He described his accuser as “every man’s worst nightmare”.
Mr Justice Tugendhat admitted, however, that similar tragic cases could follow because of the lies of the woman, Miss A.
“Parliament does not seem to have contemplated this situation.
“There appears to be no means of displacing her entitlement to anonymity.”
In the 1970s, the Daily Mail campaigned for women in sex cases to be granted automatic anonymity, but now there are questions about whether the law has gone too far.
Warren Blackwell’s nightmare began when Miss A, now 38, claimed she had been seized with a knife outside a village club early on New Year’s Day 1999, taken to an alley and indecently assaulted.
She later picked Mr Blackwell out at an identity parade.
There was no forensic evidence against him and he had no previous convictions.
‘She needs to be stopped’
Yet Mr Blackwell, from Woodford Halse, Northamptonshire, was found guilty and spent three years and four months behind bars.
Eventually the case was referred to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) which assigned Detective Chief Inspector Steve Glover, to investigate. He discovered that the woman:
Has made at least five other fake allegations of sexual and physical assault to police in three separate forces.
Was married twice and made false allegations against both husbands – one of whom was a policeman.
Once accused her own father of sexual assault, but police concluded she had made it up.
Accused a boy of rape when she was a teenager, only for a doctor to discover she was still a virgin.
The CCRC concluded that in the case of Mr Blackwell, she had “lied about the assault and was not attacked at all, her injuries being self-inflicted”.
The Crown Prosecution Service did not oppose the appeal.
David Farrell QC, for the Crown, said: “This conviction is unsafe. What has come out of the woodwork paints a picture of a woman with immense personal problems with serious difficulties in distinguishing between truth and lies.”
If this information had been known at the time of the trial, he added, “this case would not have made it off the ground”.
Mr Blackwell said: “Clearly something has to be done about this woman. She needs to be stopped. The prosecution say she is psychiatrically disturbed, but insane people who murder are tried and if found guilty put away.”
Mr Blackwell, who plans to sue police over his ordeal, will now have his name removed from the Sex Offender Register.
His accuser has a history of mental illness and self-harm – once inscribing the word ‘HATE’ on her body with scissors.
However, because she has changed her name at least eight times, and moved between addresses in at least three counties, it seems police never realised they were dealing with the same woman.
For Mr Blackwell, her accusations meant he missed more than three years of family life. His son Liam, ten, and stepdaughter Holly, 16, were three and nine when his ordeal began.
His 36-year-old wife said: “I never doubted him for a second. We were together six years before it happened, and ever since.”
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©2006 Associated New Media