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Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020

UK: Prison officer jailed for lying about being raped by Asian taxi driver

A former prison officer is has been locked up for falsely accusing an Asian taxi driver of raping her.
Victoria Hoynes nearly destroying the reputations of two innocent cabbies and wasted many hours of police time while her allegations were investigated over a busy Bank Holiday weekend. It became clear her story was unfounded when dash-cam footage from one of the drivers’ cars was reviewed by officers.

It was then that she was interviewed not as a potential victim, but as a suspect. As well as working with sex offenders at HMP Frankland, County Durham, Hoynes was also an aspiring model.

She took part in Durham’s Next Top Model in 2013 and had entered the Miss Newcastle beauty pageant the following year. Hoynes stuck to her story when interviewed and said she wouldn’t risk her job and ‘lifestyle’ by lying about what had happened.

But investigating officers say it was only when the dash-cam footage was shown to her that she changed her account.

Police received a call at 3.49am on May 26 last year from Hoynes’ mother, who told them she had come back from a night out in a distressed state, claiming she had been raped by an Asian taxi driver outside Lanchester Road Hospital, on the A691, near Durham.

The prison officer said she took a taxi from the city and claimed the driver, an Asian man in his 40s, stopped the car and carried out his attack.

She alleged he assaulted her on the front passenger seat before pushing her out of the car into the grounds of the hospital. Hoynes, 27, said she contacted a friend who picked her up and noticed she had twigs in her hair and scratches on her clothing.

Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, said in her initial interview she changed her description of the driver to being in his 20s, with spiked, gelled hair.

After extensive inquiries a driver on duty that night was arrested and denied the offence, stating he had taken a fare to Crook, County Durham at about that time.

The cabbie was discounted as a suspect and the focus turned to a second driver who, it emerged, had dropped Hoynes, at the hospital.

He said he drove straight home afterwards and footage from his dash-cam showed his passenger got out unaided and there was no contact between the pair.

Both suspected drivers spoke of the effect the accusations had on their livelihoods and family life, while the case’s lead investigator said Hoynes’ actions may deter future rape victims from coming forward.

Hoynes, from Witton Gilbert, County Durham admitted intending to pervert the course of justice.

Adam Birkby, defending, said she now accepts full responsibility and wants to make ‘sincere apologies’ to both implicated drivers and to the police.

He pointed to a psychiatric report which stated that her false allegations may have been an unconscious result of a depressive illness from which she suffered since breaking up with a partner in 2018.

Mr Birkby added: ‘Ultimately, it’s been a tragedy for all concerned, particularly the two men.’

Jailing her for 20-months at Durham Crown Court, Judge James Adkin said much effort went in to proving her ‘wicked complaint’ was, ‘a complete fabrication’ which took its toll on both suspected men and on policing resources.

He added: ‘This type of offence can affect the prospects at trial of cases where it may be finely balanced as to whether women get the justice they deserve.

‘I find it difficult to see how distress about a break-up would cause you to make such a wicked complaint against someone totally innocent.’
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