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Wife jailed for crying rape to hide infidelity



An unfaithful wife who accused a man of rape to cover up a one night stand with him was jailed for 12 months yesterday.Merete Underwood, 32, disappeared with the 34-year-old interior designer after chatting him up during an evening out with her husband and two-year-old son last February, Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court heard.When she realised that her husband, Toby, had reported her missing, she claimed that she had been dragged off the street and raped.She told police that she had left the pub for a breath of fresh air when a stranger bundled her into a car and drove her to a hotel room where he and another man raped her.The man she had spent the night with was arrested and forced to spend 24 hours in a police cell after she identified him as one of the rapists. For three months he endured the prospect of court action despite protests of innocence.Even after being charged with perverting the course of justice, Underwood stuck to her story, telling the truth only last May when the jury was to be sworn in.Underwood, who is in the process of a divorce, wept as the judge told her that her last-minute confession would not save her from jail.”Rape is an extremely serious offence and quite rightly any allegation of rape is dealt with very seriously by police, as indeed is your allegation,” said Recorder Andrew McCooey. I have heard from the prosecution the impact this had on this innocent man, not to mention the many thousands of pounds that have been wasted, all brought about by your pack of lies.”And you didn’t have the decency to admit to it and put this man out of his misery. You have shown no remorse in any meaningful way.”Joanne Hacking, prosecuting, told the court earlier that Underwood was enjoying an evening out with her son and husband when she went to the toilets and never came back.Mr Underwood, 34, returned home and went to sleep, waking up at 5am to discover that his wife was still not there.”Astounded and worried”, he reported her missing to the police,” she said.Minutes later he received a call from his employer to say she had been found and taken to a police station, where she made the false claim.Miss Hacking said the defendant went on to give a full description of one of the alleged rapists and later identified the interior designer. She finally confessed to chatting him up in a nearby bar and admitted she had spent the night with him.Mr Underwood described his wife as “vindictive and deceitful”.Asked about his feelings for the man falsely accused of rape, he said: “Nobody deserves to be put through what he has been put through. He has had a year of hell – it’s appalling.”