A WOMAN who had sex with a man

Karen Kirshaw, 25, appeared before Houghton magistrates yesterday where she admitted wasting police time after making a false allegation last July.

Prosecutor Simon Worthy said Kirshaw was from Manchester but had been living in the West Rainton area for some time.

She told police she had been drinking in the Britannia pub in Houghton and was making her way home at about 1am when she was grabbed by her ex-partner, dragged into a dark alley, and raped.

Kirshaw was seen by a woman detective and made a formal complaint against her ex-boyfriend.

She told police she was upset but not physically injured.

Specially-trained officers and a medical team were called in and Kirshaw was told special counselling would be made available to help her over her ordeal.

Detectives made inquiries at the public house and a witness came forward and told them he had taken Kirshaw home on the night in question and had consensual sex with her.

Mr Worthy added: "You can imagine the scale of an inquiry such as this when such a serious allegation has been made. Fortunately the man named by her was not formally arrested and eventually she admitted it was a malicious complaint."

Neil Hodgson, defending, said Kirshaw had been involved in a violent relationship with her partner for about five years before they split up.

On the night of the alleged attack she had been upset and telephoned her mother in Blackpool. It was she who had started the ball rolling by calling the police.

Mr Hodgson said: "Fortunately it appears they had some doubts about her story from the beginning and nobody was ever arrested or charged."

Kirshaw, of Newcombe Drive, Little Hulton, Manchester, admitted wasting police time and failing to surrender to bail, was given a two-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay 75 costs.

Two years ago, a judge was criticised after calling for a register of women similar to the Sex Offenders Regsister for women who made false rape allegations.

Judge David Bryant said there was a good case for the register following the collapse of a case at Teesside Crown Court involving a 16-year-old girl.

Victim Support said that women sometimes withdrew allegations of rape, but that did not automatically mean that they had invented the incident.