A woman who slashed her body to convince police she had been sexually assaulted by a taxi driver has been jailed after her lies were exposed – by an iPhone APP.
Astria Berwick, 27, told cops she was attacked by cabbie Mohammed Asif, 45, claiming he threatened her with a knife before groping her in the back of his car.
Mr Asif was swiftly arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and held in custody while detectives grilled him for 12 hours.
However, the truth was revealed after Mr Asif remembered he had made a voice recording of the journey using an app on his iPhone because his taxi’s CCTV was broken.
Last ThursdayBerwick was jailed for 16 months after she admitted perverting the course of justice at Nottingham Crown Court.
Judge Michael Stokes QC said Berwick, from Bingham, Notts., pretended to be the victim of sexual assault for “some unaccountable reason”.
He told her: “This was outrageous behaviour by the defendant against a wholly innocent man who had been saved by the recording on his phone.
“Had he not recorded the conversation which demonstrated that nothing untoward had occurred, he would probably still be in custody awaiting trial.”
Yesterday Mr Asif, from Carlton Hill, Notts., told how Berwick had ruined his life.
He said: “She changed my life. I’m completely different now. I’m scared to go out.
“I keep thinking, ‘I just dropped her off, she was just a normal passenger, why has she done that?'”
Mr Asif picked up Berwick at 4.50pm on February 20 and said she seemed drunk but not completely “out of it”.
The journey seemed to go smoothly, apart from Mr Asif having to pull over on the A52 so Berwick could be sick in a lay-by.
After the hour-long journey, where Berwick thanked him twice for the lift, he was radioed to go back to base, although was stopped by police before he got there.
The father-of-two then found out he was being arrested on suspicion of sexual assault.
Officers told Mr Asif that Berwick claimed he pounced on her from behind when she threw up by the side of the road before cutting her with a knife.
He said: “I just thought ‘my God – I’ve done nothing wrong’ – why would they say that?’
“At Bridewell station they took everything from me, including my clothes, and I was crying in the cell.
“I was thinking ‘my God, what is this for?’. I was in there for a day.
“They interviewed me and asked ‘what happened with the Bingham fare?’
“I told them everything – I told them there was a recording on my phone – I was saying ‘please check it’.”
He added that he felt “really lucky” he had thought to use the phone app on the day and believes that without it he would now be on remand waiting to face a judge and jury.
After the arrest he could not face working again for a month and lost a stone in weight.
Now back at work, he is still trying to forget the night everything came crashing down for him.
Mr Asif said he was shaking after being released by police and still had problems sleeping.
He added: “If I ever met her again, although I don’t want to, I’d just ask ‘why?'”