Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Judge Tells Rape Claim Girl Conduct Was 'Evil'

WALLES,UK -- A YOUNG woman who "cried rape" was jailed yesterday after four innocent men were locked up for 36 hours.

Cinzia Sannino, 18, falsely accused the four of rape, but the friends were cleared because one filmed a party at their flat on his mobile phone.

A judge branded Sannino as "evil" after the court heard she rang police to ask for a lift home from the party,and only then claimed she was raped. Sannino met the friends, aged between 20 and 28, at a bar, before going back to one of their houses.

She stripped naked to perform a private lap-dance and was filmed "encouraging" the men to have sex with her at the flat in Seager Drive, Windsor Quay, in Cardiff Bay.

But the next morning she dialled 999 to ask to be taken home, before claiming she had been raped. Police launched an investigation and the four innocent men were locked up for 36 hours. Prosecutor Chris Lewis said, "The men were interviewed and told police remarkably similar stories.

"They said she began to lap-dance for them of her own invitation and removed her clothes until she was entirely naked. She encouraged the men to touch her sexually while she danced. They told police she then invited them to have sex with her. One of the men filmed the dancing on his mobile phone camera."

Seven-and-a-half stone Sannino - who describes herself on her website as "a wild girl who likes to have fun" - told police she had danced for the men, but had kept all her clothes on. She alleged she had felt dizzy and fell asleep, but woke up the next morning to find one of the men having sex with her. Sannino claimed another man was in the room and she thought he had also had sex with her.

She told police she felt like she had been drugged, before being raped by the two men. Sannino then phoned police asking for a lift, but when they turned her down, she told them she'd been raped.

Mr Lewis said, "At seven in the morning, she phoned police asking for a lift home. "When the operator told her the police were not a taxi service she started to cry and said she had been raped. She said she woke up to find one of the men having sex with her - she said she felt like she had been drugged."

Police drove 5ft 3in Sannino around Cardiff Bay so she could identify her alleged attacker.

A large-scale investigation, involving three doctors and a forensic team, was launched into the rape. A recently shut-down police station was reopened to handle the operation. But when police showed her the phone footage, she immediately withdrew her complaint. The court heard Sannino was out with friends in Cardiff city centre and had got heavily drunk. She met some men in a bar and agreed to go home with them.

Peter Wormald, defending, said, "This young woman went out and drank to an excess that she wasn't used to. She was in the company of a group of older men, who were used to drink more than she was and she became heavily intoxicated. She is a young woman completely over-awed by what she has brought upon herself."

Sannino, who hoped to train as a nurse after finishing at college, admitted two charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Judge Roderick Evans told Sannino, "I have no doubt you had voluntary, consensual sexual intercourse with each of them. "Before, you performed a lap dance and allowed them to touch you intimately. Fortunately for them someone recorded part of your behaviour on his mobile phone. Four men were arrested, interviewed and locked up for 36 hours based on your allegations. Some people would say that your conduct was more than foolish and ill-advised - it was evil."

Sannino, of Llanishen, Cardiff, was sent to a young offenders institute for six months.

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