Margaret Weldon, 43, met a man at a bar in Sheffield city in South Yorkshire on April 1, 2017. The two returned to his home and had consensual sex. She left the next morning. She returned to his home that evening and the two had consensual sex again.
When the man said he no longer wanted to see her, she overdosed on an unspecified substance and claimed to have been raped as her husband and paramedics rushed her to the hospital, according to local newspaper The Star. She would later change her story before surveillance video and witnesses proved she lied.
Sheffield Crown Court Prosecutor Ian Goldsack said during a hearing Thursday that Weldon had offered to drive the man home the night they met.
“She said she had a car and would drive them there. They spent the night together. The complainant went on to tell the police they had intercourse on two or three occasions,” he said, The Star reported.
After the second night’s encounter, the man apparently told Weldon he needed to meet his son in order to “get her out of his house,” Goldsack said.
“Ms. Weldon tried to call him on a number of occasions. He ignored the calls but text her and tried to let her down gently. He said he had no interest in seeing her again, and had issues with an ex,” he added.
Hospital staff reported Weldon’s alleged rape to South Yorkshire police after she overdosed. At the time, Weldon claimed to have been raped in the street. But the next day, she told police that claim was not “entirely truthful” and said she had been raped by a man whom she drove home after he allegedly followed her to her car.
The man was brought in for questioning. Weldon claimed she had the man’s number because she had been “trying to contact him with a view to stabbing him for what he had done,” Goldsack said.
Police recovered CCTV from a bar the couple visited, showing them “hugging and kissing.” The man’s neighbor also told police he heard consensual sex sounds through the walls.
Still, the man was under suspicion until August 2017, Goldsack said.
Weldon “pleaded guilty to one count of committing a series of acts with intent to pervert the course of justice” and was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison. Police, according to The Star, estimated her false accusation had cost £6,797 to investigate.
Weldon’s defense attorney, Paul O’Shea, said Weldon had breast cancer, mental health problems, and a borderline personality disorder. He also provided character references claiming Weldon was a “good mother,” and argued she should not be imprisoned because of the impact it would have on her children and husband, who has myalgic encephalomyelitis.
This did not persuade Judge Jeremy Richardson much, as he condemned Weldon for her “wickedness.”
“You have let all women down, let there be no mistake about that…you have attacked the fabric of justice in this country,” he said.
“The consequences of this crime have been, in many respects, devastating for your victim. He now suffers from depression, and there have been life-changing consequences,” Richardson added.
Two-and-a-half years is longer than women typically get for false accusations in America. Without any real deterrent, these crimes will continue to wreak havoc on innocent lives.