A COUPLE who invited a stranger to have sex behind a Maldon church and then made a false rape allegation against him have been jailed.
Mark and Elaine Noble, of Mundon Road, offered a Turkish man they met outside the Oak House Cafe Bar £20 for sex, Chelmsford Crown Court heard on Monday.
The wife, 42, pulled down the man's trousers and boxer shorts and performed a sex act on him at the back of All Saints Church in the High Street while her 45-year-old husband watched.
She then started reaching inside his pocket to find money and the man, who was feeling uncomfortable, decided to run away, prosecutor Stephanie Farrimond told the court.
She returned to the bar after the incident and banged on the door claiming she had been raped.
She said her husband had chased after the alleged attacker and they both continued the false allegation when police arrived.
However, the pair pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice on October 16 last year and Judge Anthony Goldstaub QC jailed them both for nine months on Monday.
The 18-year-old victim was kept in custody for 16 hours and intimate medical samples were taken.
The couple's false claim unravelled when a witness and CCTV backed up his account.
However, as a result of the allegation the victim lost his accommodation, his job and the trust of his family.
The judge told the Nobles: "A false allegation has an invidious affect on public confidence of the truth.
"Your contribution has been such that when genuine victims of rape complain they may be listened to with less attention and some suspicion they may have made it up, as you did."
Ms Farrimond said the pair had been drinking and taking cocaine and had been involved in threesomes in the past.
Investigating officer, DC Alison Cotter said after the hearing: "Every time a false allegation of rape is made it heightens the difficulty for those women who have been the victims of this horrendous crime.
"These two people have carried out a gross disservice to every genuine victim of a sexual offence.
"An innocent suspect was arrested and had to go through the ordeal of being held in custody and undergoing a medical examination that is intrusive and personal.
"He has had to endure the stigma of being suspected of a serious offence, only to be cleared of a crime he knew he had not committed.
"Detectives spent many hours of police time on this investigation while they could have been employed dealing with genuine cases."
The court was told that Mark Noble had been crippled after an industrial accident and his wife was his carer.
She lived an isolated life other than occasional trips to the pub with her husband.