Leniency for False Rape Accuser in the UK

Kevin Meyers had an interesting op-ed piece in the Daily Telegraph in August about the lack of outrage over leniency shown to false rape accuser Alison Welfare.

Welfare create an elaborate ruse to try to falsely convict her boyfriend of rape. Meyers describes the bizarre lengths which Welfare went to appear a victim of rape,

She sent herself threatening e-mails, and then told the police they came from him [her boyfriend].

She tore her clothes, daubed herself with paint, bound and gagged herself, and allowed herself to be found in a “distressed” condition in a McDonald’s lavatory in Peckham, south London, having been “raped” at knifepoint.

Her boyfriend, Christopher Wheeler, was arrested and spent two months in jail before the ruse was finally discovered.

Yet after being convicted of such an outrageous deception, Welfare was sentenced to only 1 year in jail and could be released after only 6 months. Meyers writes,

There has been no outcry at the leniency shown to Alison Welfare. However, there was an outcry in the last case that I remember in which a woman was charged with making malevolent and baseless accusations of rape. That was from feminists, denouncing the fact that the woman was sentenced to a couple of months’ imprisonment for making false rape charges against two Irish soldiers in Cyprus.

“This case will deter genuine rape victims from reporting rape,” screamed the Irish Rape Crisis Centre, demanding the release of the Irishwoman responsible.

The illogic was breath-taking, for we rightly reserve particular opprobrium for rapists. But by making light of the false accusation of rape, women’s groups are trivializing rape itself. You cannot debase a currency for some of the time; once debased, it stays debased.

. . .

False allegations of rape, however, are about power, for they mobilize the proper revulsion society feels about the crime against the unfortunate target. So we should protect the powerful societal taboo on rape by treating those who falsely allege rape with the severity with which we treat rapists. That is the least the true victims of rape deserve.

Certainly people such as Welfare who go to such extraordinary lengths to subvert legal and cultural taboos against rape for their own purposes should be severely punished. A one-year sentence for such an elaborate ruse is a bad joke.


Malicious accusers are as bad as rapists. Kevin Meyers, The Daily Telegraph, August 17, 2003.

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