A RIPON woman has been jailed for falsely accusing a police officer of sexual assault.
Sandra Bainbridge, aged 53, of King Edward Road, Ripon, was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment at Bradford Crown Court on Monday, April 23 after being found guilty of making a false allegation of sexual assault with the intent to pervert the course of public justice.
She had been convicted at an earlier hearing when a jury delivered a majority verdict against her following a three-day trial.
The court had heard that on the evening of March 5 2009 police visited Bainbridge’s home to arrest a man for breaching his bail conditions.
Officers were met with a violent response from the occupants of the house and the man they had been looking for was arrested along with Bainbridge.
Whilst in police custody, she alleged that an officer had subjected her to a sexual assault during her arrest in the front garden of her home.
A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said: “As with all complaints, North Yorkshire Police acted professionally and took the allegation seriously which resulted in a thorough criminal investigation managed by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
“As the inquiry progressed, it became clear that the incident did not and could not have happened.”
Chief Inspector Steve Breen, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “This complaint was disgusting and disgraceful in its cynicism and dishonesty and Sandra Bainbridge has rightly been held to account for her damaging actions.
“A police officer’s integrity and reputation were questioned and he was subjected to the full rigours of a criminal enquiry. This caused him a huge amount of stress, damaged the morale of his colleagues and had a detrimental effect on his and his family’s health.
“I am pleased that the jury in this case reached the verdict they did, wholly exonerating an officer who, for 18 years, has shown himself to be capable, diligent and of admirable courage, morality and integrity.
“The trial extended over three days and required ten police officers to attend court, five of them to give evidence. At no time did Bainbridge take the opportunity to admit her guilt thus avoiding all the expense of a trial.
“While North Yorkshire Police will respond properly to justifiable criticism, will learn from its mistakes and will subject offenders within its ranks to criminal or disciplinary action, we will not stand idly by when our officers are subjected to malicious and damaging complaints,” said Chf Insp Breen.