Lying mother Sherilea Warburton jailed for false rape claim
A mother who created a web of lies including false claims she was raped and burgled at knife-point has been jailed for 15 months.
Sherilea Warburton, 35, was charged with perverting the course of justice after making the allegations in March, 2011.
Appearing for sentencing today, Kingston Crown Court heard how she forged a death threat, and even cut herself with a knife to support her deceit
Her lies led to the arrest of an innocent man, who was kept in custody and forced to undergo intimate forensic tests.
More than £18,000 was spent on a police investigation, while 30 officers assigned to the case wasted hours of time searching for the alleged rapist.
Kingston Crown Court heard Warburton was living in Coverton Road, Tooting, with her husband and four-year-old when she first claimed she was burgled on March 12, 2011.
Her partner contacted the police after finding her unconscious at home, claiming a man assaulted her and tried to steal her laptop.
Three days later police were contacted again when a handwritten note showed up at her front door reading: "You best keep it shut or I will cut you up with your kid."
After months of investigation it appeared Warburton forged the note herself.
The most serious lie came on March 31 when Warburton pretended she was raped at knife point in her own home at 9.30am.
She then said the man chased her down a corridor, cut off her clothes and subjected her to an hour and a half ordeal of rape.
Warburton even inflicted wounds to herself, claiming the man ran a knife along her body.
Emma Smith, prosecuting, said: "Her statement said he spat at her in the face and made her raise her arms above her head as he ran the knife across her breasts and neck, effectively superficial injuries.
"Police and ambulance service all appeared at the address to find her distressed with a duvet wrapped around her."
Months of police investigation followed as officers interviewed witnesses, checked 290 properties for CCTV footage and conducted forensic tests.
When nothing came to fruition Warburton was asked to compile an e-fit of the rapist, which led to the arrest of Leon Mitchell in April.
He was kept in police custody overnight and released on bail, only being told six weeks later no action would be taken.
In April 2011 it was found she sent emails to members of her running club between the hours of 9.30am and 11.05am - the time she claimed she was raped.
She was arrested but kept on lying to police, only changing her plea to guilty in January this year.
Mr Jamie Hamilton, defending, said it was an unusual case as she was not seeking revenge or the arrest of an innocent man.
A psychiatric report revealed no specific diagnosis, but found seizures and disassociative phenomena as an underlying cause of her lies.
Judge Edward Southwell, sentencing, said: "You have pleaded guilty to a very serious allegation of perverting the course of justice which resulted in the arrest and detention of a wholly innocent individual.
"False allegations do nothing to encourage genuine victims to come forward and do much to discourage them."