Saturday, 13 November 2010


The cases of Rebecca Wood from Methil, Fife, and Amanda Bradley, Bolton, England, both of whom accused their boyfriends of raping them, is a chilling reminder of how dangerous and damaging a little bit of teenage spite and immaturity can be especially when mixed with alcohol and stupidity.

Wood and her friend Johanna Low, phoned the police (for no particular reason) and accused Wood’s boyfriend of trying to rape both of them at his home in East Wemyss, but when police arrived at the house they found the boy and his mother at home alone.

When Wood and Low were traced they admitted making the story up. They were, predictably, drunk, at the time they made the call. It was fortunate that they two were not only drunk and spiteful, but also monumentally stupid. The boyfriend was never in any danger of being arrested because the story was so paper thin.

The other case was more frightening. Barry had already started a relationship with another boy and texted him that he had been raped by her existing boyfriend. He called the police and the boyfriend, who had just had consensual sex with her, was arrested whilst still in her bedroom. He was held in police cells for 17 hours, subjected to an intimate search, and had the case hanging over him for three months before Barry owned up and told the truth.

In the case of Wood and Low, there seems to have been no other reason for the accusation, than that they were drunk and stupid. The defence seems to rest on that. They had been drinking and hadn’t considered the consequences of their actions. But of course they will have been counselled to say that, so who knows what the truth is. Bradley appears to have thought that this was a convenient way of getting rid of the boyfriend who was standing in the way of the new relationship. When asked why she had done it she replied: “Because I’d just had enough of him. Because every time I got a boyfriend he still wanted sex with me and everything like that.”

Rape is a dreadful crime. Most men (me included) cannot begin to imagine the effect that it has on a woman. It is a crime, the memory of which can stay with the victim for a life time, and in some cases, damage or even ruin the rest of her life. People who do it, whether they are drunk or not, hurt or not, stupid or not, have to be dealt with in a most severe way.

By the same token false accusers of rape are an equally low form of human life. Not only do they subject their victims to untold anguish, possible vigilante reprisals and in some cases a lasting revulsion for women, but they also do a gross disservice to other women, the real victims of the crime. By making it less likely that they will be believed.

Remarkably, and wrongly in my view, Wood and Low were given community service. The Sheriff indicated that had more time been wasted on the case, then custodial sentences would have been given. Now I approve of community service for petty crime, but I don’t consider this to be petty crime, and I think it sends out the wrong message. Clearly too, the Sheriff appears to think that wasting police time is a more severe crime than false accusation of rape. Wrong!

A more appropriate sentence, in my opinion, was the one handed down to Wood. She was jailed for 12 months.

Pic: Bradley. (There are no pictures available of the Fife girls.)


  1. I can't disagree with a word you've said Tris. Some years ago I thought we were improving our ability to deal with rape cases. It would appear shouting 'rape' for amusement is treated very lightly. As you say that's wrong.

  2. Perhaps if they were made aware that they'd receive exactly the same sentence as the accused, it might make them think.

    Keeping anonymity for the accused as well (until convicted) would help, lives have been ruined and men have committed suicide over false claims and the stigma involved.

  3. I see that Call me Dave has backtracked on his promise to change the law to keep 'the accused 'anonymous until the trial has decided on guilt or innocence.
    And politicians wonder why we don't believe a word they tell us.

  4. Yes SR. I thought that things were getting better and more enlightened too.

    Silly me.

  5. QM: I agree completely. I've linked to your story at the bottom of mine.

  6. Yes Ben Dover. It's today's manifesto pledge that has gone crashing into the buffers.

    Quiet man has a good post on it...see link in story above.

  7. Tris,

    For this reason, due to the risk posed to the suspect in such accusations and cases like this - I supported Cameron's pledge to provide male suspects with anonymity throughout their time as suspects.

    Shame it was dropped.

  8. I don't know why "call me" Dave bothered with a manifesto at all any old beer mat or the back of a fag packet would have done just as well for a list of things that are not going to get done, and they are much easier to chuck out of the window of the ministerial Mondeo (note to Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne not to sign these nasty election pledges that are so inconvenient later on and likely to upset the students who used to vote Lib Dem, [also note to students the Lib Dems HQ is at 4 Cowley Street!]). But that is another subject.

    As to these ghastly harridans why not try pointing at them and shouting "BIG SOCIETY" that might work. Well at least dum dum Dave hopes it will. That’s what he is hoping will be the big success of his premiership rather than the fact that he has cut everything to the bone and being really nasty to these ghastly malingerers with back problems and depression (neither of these conditions being in the Tory lexicon) and left us without any planes or any aircraft carriers (for the time being).

    Least way it they are unemployed they can be sent along to be part of the BIG SOCIETY on a compulsory voluntary basis and if they don’t want to the Government can refuse to lend them their hardship money. Just point at the door when they come to sign on and shout “BIG SOCIETY”!!

  9. I can't imagine why it was dropped Dean. It was wrong to drop it

  10. Hum Munguin. I'm getting a bit worried about you and your BIG SOCIETY. You're becoming obsessive.

    Manifesto... didn't someone from Labour say that a manifesto was only a lit of aspirations?

  11. tris..
    Thanks. Quiet mans post was interesting.
    Dave has been a letdown for the Tories ( non tories aren't surprised of course).
    Promising to cut the public service waste then hiring a private photographer. Andrew Parsons and WebCameron filmmaker Nicky Woodhouse are being paid £35,000 each by the Cabinet Office, for jobs that were not advertised and didn’t exist under the Labour government.
    Plus promising a freeze on our EU payments, then saying a rise of £400m was a 'great victory'. And of course we all know that the EU will make it a bigger rise anyway despite what cast iron says.

  12. Having just recently re-read some articles regarding Craig Charles' false accusation, this struck me as pretty interesting. I'm not sure that I agree on the equation of false accusers with rapists themselves, though, nor do I like the specifically gendered reading of the crime you give ('Most men (me included) cannot begin to imagine the effect that it has on a woman').
    I think perhaps the best 'punishment' (though I disagree with the punitive form of censure) for this sort of crime is the dissociation that the communities will effect against the women. However, the truth is that due to the overbearing patriarchal framework this will step beyond simple freezing out, and the women will be regarded as 'lying whores/bitches,' engendering a whole new trend of misogynistic and divisive culture that will see the liars become victims in their own minds and only perpetuate their lies.

    It seems to me that the right move would be in prevention, with non-mixed groups of women talking to the younger generation and making clear the seriousness of this crime, the 're-classification' of the word 'rape' which has now become something that happens on Facebook when someone uses your profile to write something embarrassing, and an increased public acknowledgement of rape - rather than having adverts for rape banned or stuck after the watershed.
    Scotland actually has some pretty wonderful anti-rape ads;

  13. Ben Dover [oh, how imaginative you are],

    "Plus promising a freeze on our EU payments, then saying a rise of £400m was a 'great victory'. And of course we all know that the EU will make it a bigger rise anyway despite what cast iron says."

    Fact is, Cameron should never have tried to reduce the EU increase - we cannot short change the European ideal, not because of some bigots want little england and splendid isolationism!

  14. Ben...Yes he is a let down, but as you say, it has come as no surprise. He was and is a man of much noise and little action.

  15. Lazaruszine: Thanks you for your comment.

    I can hardly help but “gender” it though. I said “few” men, as opposed to no men, because there are men and boys who are raped, but very few. The truth is that a man who has not been raped (ie most) has no idea what it feels like to be raped. Even a good duffing up by a tough guy, can't be anything like being raped.

    The French call it "violation", perhaps that is a better word than rape, certainly if people are starting to use “rape” in reference to Facebook wall comments.

    Of course as you say, the shame of the false accuser may (or may not), be "punishment" (I'm not sure what else one would call it) enough. Being ostracised by one's peers may have some effect on a girl. But I disagree completely that that is sufficient. Presumably you know something about the subject but I’m failing to see your reasoning with the non punishment argument.

    Is it the same kind of crime as rape itself? Well, that of course is a matter of opinion. But it has on certain occasions, as Quiet Man said above caused people to commit suicide. Certainly too (because I’ve witnessed it in my neighbourhood, is caused vigilante action by family/friends which put a man in hospital’s ITU hanging on to life by a thread. Stupid drunk girls failing to think of the consequences of their actions are as distasteful to me, at least, as stupid dunk boys who can’t accept no, or who attack and violate for fun.

    Of course people should be educated about the harm they do they do. We should have far better sex education that doesn’t pussy foot about. Boys need to know about girls and girls about boys. The ignorance I have witnessed in kids that think that they are streetwise and know everything is jaw dropping. “Oh I never though... it never occurred to me...”

    Proper hard hitting home truths would do these kids a pile of good.

  16. Dean I'll leqve you to fight with your flatmate, or Ukipper or ben whoever... ;¬)

    I don't have the energy.

  17. tris..

    ha ha

    I'm loving being an observer as Dean's EUSSR collapses under the weight of it's stinking corruption. They can run but they can't hide. Greece and now Ireland. Who will be next ? Hopefully Dean will finish his degree in EUishness before it all goes tits up.
    I'd hate to think he'll be flipping burgers without getting his sociology degree first ;)

  18. Certainly the word needs reclaimed, as it has been co-opted by patriarchal comedy to mean something completely different (or, in some cases, be mocked in its original context). I can't think of a word that hits as hard as it should though, 'violation' is a very different idea, though I do like the 'violent' connection, as rape =/= a sexual crime, but a violent one, something the MSM forgets.
    Punitive measures I am generally against, as I don't think they work in any cases, but that's an entire argument based in a lot of other frameworks. Free and direct discourse amongst a community outside of a controlling political framework seems to be a better idea, and I think movements such as the Zapatistas have made great headway in this.
    As to whether it is a crime, I think 'crime' is the wrong term entirely, as it suggests something that can be policed and controlled. In truth, it seems more a question of ethics and education, because 'crime' carries with it an undesirable framing of inevitability and, actually, a divorcing from consequence because it is 'dealt with' on a one-time basis.