Teenager, 18, avoids jail after lying that she had been raped

Teenager, 18, avoids jail after lying that she had been raped by a stranger when her boyfriend wouldn’t let her back into the house after a row

  • Lauren Skinner told police she had been approached by a stranger and raped  
  • She claimed it happened while walking to her boyfriend’s house after a row 
  • Her boyfriend then phoned police, and Skinner gave account of what happened
  • But officers noticed discrepancies, and Skinner admitted there was no rape 
  • Magistrates imposed a two year community order with 100 hours of unpaid work

A woman who lied about being raped by a stranger after a row with her boyfriend has avoided jail for wasting police time. 

Lauren Skinner, 18, told Wiltshire Police she had been at a Swindon pub with her boyfriend and a friend but was left alone after an argument.

She then claimed she had been approached by a stranger and raped while walking to her boyfriend’s house, but police noticed discrepancies with the initial account and a further version of events given the following day. 

She spoke to the officers after her boyfriend at the time had phoned police in the early hours of July 11 last year to report the alleged rape.  

Skinner said she would go to the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) for a forensic examination, and gave police a location for the supposed attack, sparking a crime scene to be put in place along a footpath between Drakes Way and Shrivenham Road. 

Officers trawled through CCTV footage, which showed Skinner and her boyfriend near the footpath, and the moments after her boyfriend left without her. But no footage showed anyone approaching her, Wiltshire 999s reports. 

Lauren Skinner, 18, pictured outside Swindon Magistrates’ Court. She told Wiltshire Police she had been at a pub with her boyfriend and a friend but was left alone after an argument

Skinner admitted causing wasteful employment of police at Swindon Magistrates’ Court yesterday afternoon, after she was arrested and confessed she had not been the victim of rape. 

Magistrates imposed a two year community order with 100 hours of unpaid work. She must pay £40 costs and a £95 victim surcharge. 

She had claimed she was raped after her boyfriend did not let her into his house following their argument. 

Swindon magistrates heard how Wiltshire Police spent more than £2,000 and diverted resources from front-line crime fighting to investigate Skinner’s false claim.    

Officers taking her statement said they had concerns about the allegations, and referred it to a sergeant.

Two detectives re-interviewed her the following day, with Skinner changing the story she had previously given.  

She made the allegation about being raped by a stranger, but claimed she had not wanted to call the police.

When she made her statement, she didn’t tell police it was a lie because she didn’t want to get in trouble. 

Her solicitor, Mark Glendenning, said she had ‘found herself on a rollercoaster after making a throwaway remark’ to her boyfriend that she’d been raped.

PCSOs spent more than six hours at the scene where the alleged attack was said to have taken place 

‘Every step down that road made it much more difficult to recant and go backwards,’ he said, adding that she was no longer in a relationship with her boyfriend.

‘The relationship might well have pushed her down a particular line – she was scared, confused and didn’t really know what to do.’

Skinner is now living with her parents, receiving mental health support and has returned to college.

Her lawyer said she had no previous convictions or cautions, was remorseful and had apologised to police.  

Speaking after the case, a police spokesman said: ‘This woman has shown little regard for the level of upset she has caused to others.

‘Her behaviour could really have a negative impact on other victims of rape or sexual assault who may choose not to report it to police for fear that they will not be believed.

‘I would like to reassure victims of sexual assault that we take all reports extremely seriously and would encourage anyone who has been a victim, regardless of how much time has passed since the offence, to come forward and report it to police on 101.’

Victims can also seek support from the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) based at the New Swindon Sanctuary – they can be contacted on the 24-hour helpline 0808 168 0024.

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