Woman initially given community service for false accusation of rape sentenced to four years on appeal
A woman in the UK who had been given community service for falsely accusing three men of rape has now been sentenced to four years in prison.
Senior judges made the decision after they all agreed that the sentence given to 30-year-old Anna Costin initially was "too lenient."
Costin was initially given three years of community service as her sentence at the Shresbury Crown Court in March this year by Judge Peter Barrie.
She had admitted to the seven counts of perverting the course of justice before the sentencing.
According to reports, Costin suffers from mental health issues and had accused three men of raping her and a fourth man of physically assaulting her inside her own house.
On May 23, the Appeal Court in London heard what one of the victims had to say and his "cast-iron alibi" of him being on holiday at the time of the alleged attack proved all of Costin's lies.
Another of the victims was able to prove that he was at home watching TV at the time that she had claimed he raped her.
All three of the accused men had to go through intrusive medical examinations and one of them was left traumatized by the accusation as he too has mental health problems.
Lady Justice Hallett also agreed that Costin's initial suspended sentence was too lenient and that Judge Barrie had "placed too much emphasis on her problems and difficulties" instead of looking at the situation from the angle of her victims and what they went through.
She said: "This pattern of offending was in our view extremely serious. We acknowledge the extent of her difficulties and the considerable care and support which professionals have offered her over the years. However, to our mind the level of seriousness of these offences is such that it was not possible to impose a community penalty."
The appeal curt judge also said that the court would have surely given Costin six and a half years in prison if the suspect had contested the charges leveled against her.
The judge concluded: "But in light of her guilty pleas and her very substantial personal mitigation we will reduce that figure to four years."
The court heard that Costin had lodged her false complaints against her three victims between January and March 2016. She had told the police that one of the men had raped her in her own home on the carpet after he took off all her clothes. Initially, this man was arrested but then released after the authorities realised his alibi was solid.
She then made a second complaint of sexual assault against the same man telling the police that he had grabbed her breasts. He was, again, arrested but then released, for the second time, after the police confirmed his alibi once more.
The court then heard that Costin had accused her second victim in a similar fashion as the first one. She told police that the second man had also raped her in her own home.
Costin, who is from Shrewsbury, lied and told the police that the second man had "forced her onto the sofa, and pulled down her clothes and raped her".
The authorities were able to confirm that he was at home watching TV at the time that Costin said he allegedly raped her. She responded to this news by lodging yet another false rape complaint against the man. The second time, however, he was able to prove that he had been eating a take-away dinner at his home.
Lady Justice Hallett had said that Costin's other offences all followed the same pattern, more or less.
Her case made its way to the Appeal Court after Jeremy Wright QC, a lawyer who works for the Attorney General, said that Costin's sentence was "unduly lenient".
Lady Justice Hallett, with two other judges, took into consideration Costin's "extensive history of mental health difficulties" but also said that the "insidious" nature of the suspect's crimes had managed to deeply traumatize her four victims.
She added that in the first sentence when the Crown Court judge let her go with a light sentence, he had "placed too much emphasis on her problems and difficulties, and insufficient emphasis on the consequences for the victims and for the criminal justice system"
The appeal court judge then replaced the community order that Costin received earlier with a four-year sentence behind bars.
Costin was then ordered to surrender herself into police custody in Shrewsbury by 12 pm on May 24 to begin her sentence.