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Woman jailed for tricking man into attempted rape of former work colleague

Date

Bill Gardner

Joanne Berry arrives at Maidstone Crown Court in Kent where she was jailed for six years after she used sex chatrooms to try to trick strangers into raping a former work colleague.

Joanne Berry arrives at Maidstone Crown Court in Kent where she was jailed for six years after she used sex chatrooms to try to trick strangers into raping a former work colleague. Photo: PA Wire

London: A woman who used sex chatrooms to try to arrange the "stranger rape" of a former work colleague has been jailed for six years.

Joanne Berry, 30, posed as the woman online and invited a man to come to her house and attack her, but the plan failed.

Berry had recently lost her temporary job after displaying "increasingly erratic behaviour" at work, and a judge said she may have held the victim responsible.

Aggrieved, the university-educated mother of one resolved to exact some form of "revenge or retribution".

She began contacting a man online, pretending that she enjoyed “rape scenarios” and engaging in sexual roleplay.

Eventually she gave him her ex-colleague's address, telling him it was her own, and persuaded him to knock on the door and rape her.

The unwitting man tried to barge his way in to the woman's home to act out the rape, but aborted the plan after realising he had been set up.

Berry, from south-east London, was previously convicted in May of putting a person in fear of violence in 2012.

At Maidstone Crown Court, Judge David Griffith-Jones, QC, said Berry had developed an "irrational vendetta" against the victim who had only shown kindness towards her.

She was convicted of committing an assault with the intention of committing a sexual offence, common assault and attempting to cause a person to engage in sexual activity without consent.

Judge Griffith-Jones said the combination of direct and circumstantial evidence against Berry at her trial was "compelling and the jury was not fooled", and described her behaviour as "wicked and calculating".

He went on: "That [the victim] was not in fact raped or seriously sexually assaulted is entirely fortuitous.

"That is plainly what you intended. As it is, however, the trauma inflicted upon her was, as can only be imagined, very substantial indeed."

Part of a victim impact statement was read out at court in which the victim described how the ordeal had left her suffering panic attacks.

The victim refuses to sit out in the garden on her own because she fears men may force their way in, and she panics when someone knocks on her door.

The judge said the man involved should also not be forgotten as he was "duped" into acting in a way which could have had repercussions for him.

In mitigation, defence counsel said Berry - who has one previous conviction for shoplifting in 2004 - was of good character up until now.

She had also not committed any offences while on bail and she was a woman educated to degree level who had a child.

Berry remained impassive as she was jailed, and told she must sign the sex offenders register indefinitely and may be barred from working with children.

Telegraph, London

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