Two months for girl whose rape lie ruined cabbie's life 24th April 2007
A teenage girl destroyed a taxi driver's life by crying rape at the end of a drunken night out and then refusing to withdraw the claim out of embarrassment.
Married father-of-two Aftab Ahmed, 44, lost his house, livelihood and good name after a 16-year-old passenger accused him of attacking her when she was senseless through drink.
Left: The false accuser, now 17, whose identity cannot be revealed. Aftab Ahmed (right): 'No one wants to talk to me now'
After learning that his accuser could be out of jail in two months, he said: "I'm completely shattered by the news." And he revealed how his family had been ostracised by the local Muslim community because he was wrongly suspected of the sex attack.
"To be accused of rape is the most serious crime in my religion of Islam, it is seen as worse than murder, because we are told to honour women and that they are sacrosanct," he said.
The teenager dialled 999 after being dropped off at home, believing the discomfort she was suffering indicated she had been sexually assaulted by the cabbie.
The court heard she realised Mr Ahmed had not touched her before police arrived to take her statement, but she was too scared to change her story.
Once sober she continued the pretence and took police to the remote moorland spot where she claimed the rape took place and officers carried out a full forensic examination in search of evidence.
Mr Ahmed, who was worried about the girl's health and made sure she got home safely, was immediately arrested in front of his family and locked up as a suspected rapist.
He was released on bail after spending 15 hours in police cells, but his taxi licence was revoked and he was shunned by members of the Muslim community in Bradford where he lived.
It took six weeks and an investigation costing £6,000 before police were satisfied he was innocent.
Although the girl, now 17, was charged with perverting the course of justice, she did not admit her guilt until last month - 14 months after the original incident.
Yesterday the teenager from Shipley, West Yorkshire, was sentenced to a four month detention and training order at Bradford Magistrates' Court and told she would be locked up for half that period.
District Judge David Thomas told the girl: "What you did had disastrous consequences so far as Mr Ahmed was concerned. I accept fully that you have great remorse for what has happened.
"As you said, sorry is a very short word - it doesn't put matters right. I don't want you or anyone else to have the impression that people can make these allegations and get away with it."
Mr Ahmed was parked in a taxi rank in Bradford city centre when he was asked to take the girl home by her elder sister.
Prosecutor Duncan Wilcock said Mr Ahmed gave the sister his registration plate and contact number because they were both concerned at her state.
The teenager was sick six times in his taxi and could not give him directions and Mr Ahmed went to great lengths to find the correct address.
Mr Wilcock said: "These allegations have had a profound effect on Mr Ahmed and his family. He is no longer prepared to work as a taxi driver in the evenings for fear of other allegations against him.
"His wife is taking tablets for depression and it has effected his position within the community."
The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court she "seriously believed" she had been raped after being dropped off at home.
Aftab and Amber Ahmed devastated by false allegations
"I returned to normality and realised it had not taken place," she said. "By that time the police were on their way.
"The incident had spiralled out of control and I was concerned about what would happen if I said it had not happened at all." She apologised to Mr Ahmed and his family and the police.
But it did little to ease Mr Ahmed's pain. Speaking outside court he said:
"Today is the worst day of my life, I can't imagine that the person who destroyed a whole family got only two months. She has destroyed my family life, my social life, and she has destroyed me economically."
Mr Ahmed has a degree in political science and was police officer in Kashmir before he came to England to marry his wife Amber, 32, and they have twin 11-year-old daughters together.
Recalling the night in January last year, he said the girl's friends and sister "abandoned" her into his care and he had done his best to look after the girl, returned to work and was then arrested a couple of hours later.
He said: "During the ordeal I had my taxi badge taken away, which meant I could not work. We fell into arrears with the mortgage and the house is now sold because we canít afford to live here any longer.
"I used to play with my children outside in the driveway. I don't do that now. I don't take them to the park. I just go to work and come home."
Asked about the girl, he said: "If she can do this to me then who else could she do it to next. I believe she should have been named and shamed and put always longer to protect other innocent men.
"She has made my life Hell. Nobody wants to talk to me and I no longer have a social life. I donít know who believes me, but I am full of fear. It's very hard to move forward.
"As an Asian taxi driver you are subjected to racial attitudes from drunken people on a daily basis. They kick out at you cab, swear, call you names, throw up in the back and run off without paying.
"You never get used to it because you are trying your best to help them and provide a service. You hear regularly of a taxi drivers been subject to violence or involved it trouble through no fault of their own."
Mrs Ahmed added: "Her claims have torn this family apart and a weaker marriage might have crumbled, but I believed my husband 100 per cent."
Mrs Ahmed also said she was "horrified" by the girl's sentence.
"She was so lucky that my husband was there to make sure she got home in safe hands. She was so drunk that anyone could have taken advantage of that young girl."
The District Judge rejected an application at an earlier hearing for the teenage to be named and shamed.
In January the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith revealed ministers were considering a change in the longstanding anonymity laws so that women who make false rape claims may no longer have their anonymity protected by law.
Courts could be given the power to reveal an accuser's name if there is a chance she will fake another assault.
Judges can already allow a false accuser to be identified if she is taken to court for perverting the course of justice and the case does not end up as a rape trial.
Under age defendants also have an automatic right to anonymity, but the judge can allow them to be named in certain circumstances.
Detective Constable Mark Wycherley, of West Yorkshire Police, said:
"We investigate all allegations of rape and when they are found to be false we take the appropriate action. If you wanted someone to take your daughter home you would want Mr Ahmed to be that person."
Persecution of stepfather or stepmother
by children of single parent families
Very many persons accused of assault, especially sexual assault, are either innocent or having been found guilty by a Court, are later found to have been innocent all along.
Under current legislation the accuser's identity is protected, whereas the accused is not. Where the majority of persons accused turn out to be innocent, during the period they are under suspicion, they are reported in the press, with an assumption of guilt, which usually ruins their lives: relationships and businesses. This particularly applies to Carers or Teachers, or those involved in such professions.
The man in the street is particularly vulnerable when entering into a relationship, since he or she has no body to turn to for advice and is not in any event tuned into the potential dangers. Those most at risk include males joining single parent families with children, and most especially young girls who are most likely to hurl accusations and usually where a relationship is not working or is breaking down.
(Falsely Accused Carers and Teachers)
Guidance for education staff and volunteers in schools
The Verdict - Jury
SOME PROMINENT SOCIAL MISCARRIAGES OF JUSTICE:
A taste for adventure capitalists
Solar Cola - the healthier cola alternative
This web<>site is Copyright © 1999 & 2012 NJK. The bird logo and name Solar Navigator are trademarks. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are hereby acknowledged. Max Energy Limited is an educational charity.