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Woman jailed for false rape charge against cab driver

July 5, 2013 at 12:40 AM   |   Comments

NOTTHINGHAM, England, July 5 (UPI) -- A woman was sentenced to 16 months in jail Thursday for falsely accusing a Nottingham, England, cab driver of raping her.

Astria Berwick, 27, was arrested after the driver, Mohammed Asif, was able to demonstrate from a recording on his smartphone the trip from Nottingham to Bingham, a town about 10 miles away, was routine -- except for the drunken Berwick having to get out of the cab to throw up, the Daily Mirror reported. But Asif said the experience of being arrested in February, held in a cell for 12 hours and questioned by police shook him.

"The ordeal has frightened me. I no longer speak to my passengers. I'm scared to go out," he said. "I keep thinking, 'I just dropped her off. She was just a normal passenger. Why has she done this?'"

Berwick told police Asif sexually assaulted her after she vomited and cut her face with a knife when she struggled. Fortunately, Asif had used a smartphone app to record the trip because the security camera in his taxi was not working.

Berwick pleaded guilty in Nottingham Crown Court to perverting the course of justice. Judge Michael Stokes said Asif was fortunate to have evidence of his innocence because he might still be in jail himself awaiting trial.

"This was outrageous behavior by the defendant against a wholly innocent man who was saved by the recording on his phone," the judge said.

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