Beds, Herts & Bucks

Rape attack lies girl sentenced

Hannah Patenall
Image caption Hannah Patenall pleaded guilty to intending to pervert the course of justice

A Bedford girl who had sex with three men and then claimed she had been raped has been given a suspended sentence.

Five men, aged 18 to 21, were later arrested after Hannah Patenall, then 17, accused them of raping her in Bedford town centre.

One of the men later found a recording on his phone of his sexual encounter with Patenall which showed she had consented, Luton Crown Court heard.

Patenall pleaded guilty to intending to pervert the course of justice.

The court heard two of the men spent 24 hours in police custody, three spent 13 hours and all were asked to provide body fluid samples.

They were also on police bail for five weeks.

'Sordid, sad and distressing'

Judge Michael Kay said that although the five men had not deserved what happened following their encounter with the girl, they were not "basking in glory" because of their behaviour.

He told Patenall: "You were plainly vulnerable, 17 at the time and these young men were quite prepared to take advantage of the unfortunate situation."

The court heard that Patenall called police from Bedford town centre last June to say she thought she had been raped.

She gave a false name and said she had been forcibly taken to a property and raped.

When interviewed, the men told detectives Patenall had approached them in the street and offered them sex.

The court heard police later examined CCTV footage and saw the girl walking with the men and with her arm around one and kissing one.

On 14 July, one of the men came forward to tell police he had discovered a voice recording on his mobile phone which backed up their account.

A court order was imposed preventing identification of the five men.

Steven Evans, defending, told the court that the teenager had mental health issues and was suffering from a personality disorder.

Judge Kay described the case as having elements that were "sordid, sad and distressing".

Patenall was given a 12-month sentence in a young offenders' institution suspended for two years and made the subject of a mental health treatment requirement for the next 18 months.

She was also placed on supervision for 18 months.

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