‘A binge-drinking woman who accused five innocent men of rape walked free from court.Tracy Brooks, 26, wasted massive amounts of police time when she made two false allegations against two friends within the space of a month last summer.
The men were arrested, questioned, held for hours in custody and faced the prospect of a lengthy prison sentence if her claims were believed.
But weeks later, she came clean and told detectives the allegations were false.
Several years ago, Brooks, a self-confessed binge-drinker, falsely accused three other men of rape in separate incidents, Newcastle Crown Court was told.
In 2001 and 2002, she made complaints against two former boyfriends and in 2004, she told police she had been raped by a friend’s boyfriend.
But the judge said he could not take these incidents into account in passing sentence because she had never been formally cautioned or charged in relation to them.
Instead, Brooks, of North Shields, North Tyneside, was given a 32-week suspended prison sentence and a three-month night-time curfew.
She had admitted two charges of perverting the course of justice.
The court heard she made one complaint last July 31, telling police she had been attacked by a male friend at his home.
The man was arrested and made to give DNA samples, while she was examined by a doctor and a video was made of her describing her fake ordeal to detectives.
Just a month later on August 30, she made another complaint, saying a different friend had raped her in her home.
The man went through a similar ordeal and she was again examined and videotaped.
It was weeks later, on September 27, that she was arrested and the allegations against the men were formally withdrawn.
Passing sentence, Judge David Hodson told her: “The effect of your false complaints was two men were subjected to a substantial degree of humiliation and a colossal amount of anxiety that they were being charged with an offence that could have resulted in a very lengthy sentence of imprisonment.”
The judge said she had escaped custody by “a hair’s breadth” and added: “I am sure the two men who were the victims of your false complaints would expect you should receive an immediate sentence of imprisonment.
“But I take the view it would be counter-productive in the light of the more stable life you have had recently.”
Defence barrister Gavin Doig said Brooks, who had a history of mental health problems, was an alcoholic who came from a troubled background.
He said she was making good progress with the help of mental health organisations.
After the case, jobless Brooks apologised for her actions, saying: “I feel devastated and ashamed of what I have done.
“On top of my mental health problems, I have had a drink problem for a very long time, though I haven’t drunk now for five months.
“Giving up booze has given me clarity of mind and now I feel I am a better person.” ‘