A ROYAL Wootton Bassett woman who falsely accused a soldier of rape has been jailed for five years.

Rebecca Palmer, 26, was found guilty of four allegations of perverting the course of justice after a nine day trial at Winchester Crown Court.

She had earlier admitted five offences of malicious communications and three more of perverting the course of justice. Her victim was a 22-year-old solider in the Kings Royal Hussars based at Tidworth.

Following the verdict, Joanne Jakymec, chief Crown prosecutor for Wessex said: “Rebecca Palmer indulged in consensual sexual activity with the victim, but on being rejected by him embarked on a malicious campaign which led to him being arrested on more than one occasion and held in custody for periods of time.

“She repeatedly made false allegations, including that of an allegation of rape, and sent malicious communications to both the victim and members of his family.

“The jury at Winchester Crown Court heard how the defendant became so embroiled in her own lies that she told others, and the police, that she was pregnant but on questioning claimed to have lost the baby during a purported suicide attempt.

“She invented fake friend profiles and produced false correspondence hoping that these would be accepted as supportive evidence of her false claims.

“She falsely claimed that the victim had taken revenge on her by posting intimate pictures of her on Facebook.”

Ms Jakymec said although Palmer, of Garraways, had pleaded guilty to a number of offences of perverting the course of justice and malicious communications, she nevertheless maintained her not guilty plea to making the false allegation of rape. As a result the victim was forced to give evidence in court.

Palmer was eventually found guilty by a jury yesterday.

“The jury was satisfied that she had lied and convicted her of perverting the course of public justice,” said the prosecutor.

“Rape is a very serious offence and this case should not detract genuine victims of this crime from coming forward and reporting.

“Our thoughts go to the victim in this case and we hope that this verdict will allow him to move on.”

A Wiltshire Police spokesman said the trial had a devastating impact on her victim’s life.

“Palmer’s behaviour has been completely unacceptable and she has shown no regard for the level of upset she has caused to others," he said.

“Palmer became completely embroiled in her own web of lies and her appalling behaviour could really have a negative impact on victims of rape or sexual assault who may choose not to report it to police for fear that they will not be believed.

“I would like to reassure victims of sexual assault that we take all reports extremely seriously and would encourage anyone who has been a victim, regardless of how much time has passed since the offence, to come forward and report it to police on 101."

Victims can also seek support from the Sexual Assault Referral Centre based at the New Swindon Sanctuary on the 24-hour helpline 0808 168 0024.