Woman who made false rape and kidnap claim avoids punishment

A music festival-goer who wasted 200 hours of police time with false rape and kidnap claims has got off without punishment.

Marissa Cheeseman, 37, of Chatham, Kent, claimed she’d been abducted by two men when she was at Yorkshire’s Whitby Folk Festival – but the allegations were completely made up.

Police slammed her actions after they dedicated 25 officers to the case – with some working their rest days to try and track down the phantom rapists.

Cheeseman admitted wasting police time but walked free from court on a conditional discharge, meaning she won’t be punished unless she commits another offence.

Marissa Cheeseman claimed she was abducted and raped while she was in Whitby (pictured)

Cheeseman went to police in August 2017 claiming she had been forced into the back of a van in Whitby and driven to Middlesborough, where she was raped by two men.

Police spent four days and 208 police hours looking for the culprits before deciding Cheeseman claims were false.

When her case came before Maidstone Magistrates Court this month, Cheeseman was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay a surcharge of £20.

North Yorkshire Detective Inspector Glenn Kelly said: ‘The time and resources dedicated to this extremely serious allegation reflected the gravitas with which we regard all such reports.

‘It is very frustrating for everyone involved in such an intensive investigation to find that the report was made up. Particularly when there are genuine victims of crime who need our help.

‘Proceeding with such prosecutions is not taken lightly and only when it is in the public interest to do so will it be considered. 

‘In this instance, there was a considerable diversion of policing resources and cost to the public purse, which had this been a genuine report, would have been the absolute right thing to do, but it was not genuine. 

‘Although a figure of 208 hours of police time has been quantified, the actual figure is likely to be much higher given the resources allocated to the investigation.

‘We may never know what motivated Cheeseman to make such claims, but what is of concern is that false reports undermine genuine victims of serious sexual crime.

‘It is vital that victims are not affected by false reporting and that they are reassured that when they do report such horrendous crimes to the police, they will be treated as an absolute priority, with urgency, sensitivity and confidentiality.’


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