A WOMAN who falsely cried rape for a second time has been spared jail because a judge does not want her child to be born in prison.

Heavily pregnant Gemma Scoones, 27, stood before Judge Michael Taylor in the dock at Durham Crown Court yesterday to be sentenced for perverting the course of justice.

Last year, Scoones was given a 12-month jail sentence by the court after she admitted a similar offence involving a false rape allegation against her estranged husband, Anthony Scoones, following the break-up of their relationship.

Mr Scoones, who later spoke about his ordeal to The Northern Echo, was arrested, held in a police cell for a day and was only released after his former wife told officers that she had made the story up.

For the latest offence, she was given another 12-month sentence, but this was suspended for two years and was accompanied by a supervision order involving the Probation Service.

Judge Taylor told her that it was a serious offence that deserved an automatic custodial sentence and said that she had made an “atrocious allegation”.

“But what saves you from an immediate sentence is that I see you are heavily pregnant and it would not be fair on your child to be born in prison,” he said.

He said it was fortunate that no one had been arrested in this latest case.

Lesley Kirkup, prosecuting, gave a brief outline of events, saying that on April 18 Scoones reported to an ambulance crew that she had been raped.

She was taken to hospital where she repeated the allegations, despite being challenged about her account.

Ms Kirkup said that medical examinations were carried out at the hospital and that police searched her home.

However, the officers were unable to find the string she had maintained was used in the attack.

When officers asked her again about her story she told them she had made it up.

“At the end of the day she has accepted she was never raped,” Ms Kirkup told the court.

Scoones, of Hardwick Street, Horden, near Peterlee, east Durham, but formerly of Newton Aycliffe, had admitted the offence at a previous hearing.