Shropshire

Shrewsbury woman jailed over false sexual assault claims

Court of Appeal, London
Image caption The Court of Appeal in London ruled that Costin's original sentence was unduly lenient

A woman who falsely accused four men of sexual assault has been jailed for four years at the Court of Appeal.

In January Anna Costin, 30, of Shrewsbury, was given a three-year community order after pleading guilty to seven charges of intending to pervert the course of justice.

Her sentence was ruled as being unduly lenient on Wednesday.

The judge said the allegations had "devastating consequences" for the men.

The court heard how Costin made seven allegations against four men between January 2016 and March 2016.

She reported four claims of rape, two of sexual assault and one of assault to police.

One of the accused was particularly vulnerable because of learning difficulties and another was away on holiday at the time of the alleged offence.

'Devastating consequences'

Imposing the term on Costin, who was not in court but must surrender to custody on Thursday, Lady Justice Hallett said that although the judge at Shrewsbury Crown Court recognised the consequences for the victims, he placed too much emphasis on Costin's problems.

She said: "All of the allegations were thoroughly investigated and, thank goodness for the men concerned, they were able to prove their innocence and the falsity of the allegations but, obviously, with devastating consequences for them."

The men said the allegations had affected their relationships with women and led to them suffering abuse, lost sleep and needing medication.

Costin, who has previous convictions mostly involving harassment, has self-harm issues going back to childhood.

She also has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autistic spectrum disorder and borderline personality disorder.

Her difficulties led to impulsive attention-seeking behaviour, the appeal judges heard.

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