By Andy Dolan and Katherine Faulkner
Last updated at 12:11 AM on 15th December 2011
Jess Cooper, 17 had a one night stand with Andrew Lester, 40 but told her boyfriend at the time she was raped
A teenage girl whose false rape allegation led to an innocent man being beaten up and another man sent to jail was let off by police with just an £80 fixed penalty notice.
Jess Cooper was handed the penalty – usually given for minor traffic infringements, anti-social behaviour or environmental offences – for wasting police time.
However, her ‘wicked’ lie led to Andrew Lester being punched and kicked to the floor. He lost eight teeth and his hearing was permanently damaged.
Yesterday a judge who jailed Cooper’s boyfriend over the attack said the police’s decision not to prosecute her ‘beggared belief’.
Judge Michael Challinor said Cooper, 17, bore a ‘huge responsibility’ for the attack after telling the lie to boyfriend Philip Hollyman as they sat drinking in a pub.
Sentencing 22-year-old Hollyman to three years in jail after he admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent, the judge said Lester ‘may suffer from the effects [of the attack] for the rest of his life’.
‘He [Hollyman] is facing years in prison and she was given a fixed penalty ticket. It almost beggars belief.
‘Crying rape is an extremely serious thing to do. I hope the police will reflect on whether this was the appropriate action to take. It just isn’t right.’
According to Crown Prosecution Service guidance, women who cry rape, so risking the arrest of an innocent man, should normally be charged with perverting the course of justice, which carries a maximum sentence of life.
Failing that, they can be cautioned or charged with wasting police time, which carries a maximum penalty of six months’ imprisonment and a £2,500 fine.
Howard Searle, prosecuting, said Mr Lester, 40, had had a one-night-stand with Cooper, although it is unclear if this was before she started seeing Hollyman.
The court heard Cooper and Hollyman were at the Bricklayers Arms in Walsall, West Midlands, in August, when she told him that Mr Lester, who was also in the pub, had raped her.
Cooper’s ex Philip Hollyman, 22, brutally attacked Lester and has received a three-year sentence
Hollyman, a construction worker who, like Mr Lester, had been drinking heavily, followed him out of the pub and attacked him.
Wolverhampton Crown Court heard Mr Lester’s cheekbone and nose were broken.
Mr Searle said Cooper made a complaint about the rape to police, but ‘quickly came to her senses and told them it was not true’.
Patrick Currie, defending Hollyman, said: ‘If it had not been for the false allegation he would not be before the court. Hollyman had no cause to doubt what he had been told.’
Outside court, Mr Currie said he was ‘very surprised’ at the action taken by police against Cooper.
The judge said he was able to reduce Hollyman’s sentence because the ‘provocation is very significant’. He added that Hollyman, from Walsall, was ‘in many ways’ a victim.
A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said West Midlands Police had already given Cooper the fixed penalty before it was consulted over the case against Hollyman.
Cooper, from Walsall, was not in court. Last night, a family friend of Hollyman said: ‘Philip knows he did wrong and is prepared to pay the price. Jess announced to the whole pub that she had been raped, in front of Philip’s friends and some of his family.’