Essex policewoman jailed for 'rape lie'

A police officer who falsely told an alleged rape victim her case had been dropped - leading her to attempt to take her own life - has been jailed for four months.

Hannah Notley, 30, of Benfleet, Essex, pleaded guilty to a charge of misconduct in public office.

Southwark Crown Court heard Notley told her superiors and the alleged victim prosecutors were not pursuing the case, knowing it had not been passed to them.

Notley has since left Essex Police.

The alleged victim told the court she lost confidence in the police and tried to take her own life.

'No further action'

Prosecutor Zoe Martin told the court Notley, who was based in Rayleigh and trained in handling sexual offences, was assigned to the case of alleged rape in July 2011. The court heard the alleged perpetrator was arrested and interviewed and his mobile phone and computer examined.

But when Notley was later asked what had happened in the case, she told a superior the CPS had decided not to pursue it, jurors were told.

When it was then logged on the police system as having "no further action", Notley failed to put superiors straight and even told the alleged victim herself CPS lawyers had decided to drop the case, despite knowing it had never been passed to them.

The matter only came to light after an independent adviser allocated to the complainant pursued the matter and it transpired the CPS had never been sent the file.

When Notley realised the truth was coming out, she contacted her professional standards department and made a full confession in April last year.

'Beset with guilt'

The rape allegation was re-investigated, the court heard, and the alleged perpetrator has since been charged. He is due to stand trial in May.

Miss Martin said: "The alleged victim states that on the evening that she was telephoned by Ms Notley to say that there was no further action, she tried to take her own life."

The court heard Notley had been suffering from difficulties in her personal life, splitting from her fiance just weeks before their wedding and having a miscarriage.

Sentencing Notley to four months in prison, Judge Alistair McCreath said: "You caused her needless and great distress when you lied to her."

In mitigation, Allan Compton, on behalf of Notley, told the court she was a "dedicated, respected and hard-working police officer" and "beset with guilt" over her lie.

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