Fantasist jailed for 'web of lies'

A MOTHER has been warned she faces jail after making up a string of serious allegations about being burgled, kidnapped and raped.

James Hore

A MOTHER has been warned she faces jail after making up a string of serious allegations about being burgled, kidnapped and raped.

Michaela Britton claimed she had been the victim of a series of crimes during a six-month period starting in February 2006 and her allegations were so serious she put innocent people at risk of being jailed.

But she was in fact a “fantasist” whose “web of lies” led to thousands of wasted hours for the police.

The 40-year-old had denied one charge of perverting the course of justice but a jury at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday returned a unanimous guilty verdict following a three-week trial.

Britton, who was wearing a dark-coloured trouser suit and white top, sat with her head in her hand as the verdict was read out.

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Judge David Turner QC said it had been “one of the strangest” cases he had ever dealt with and complimented the jury for reaching what he said had been the right verdict.

He warned the mother-of-one from Waterhouse Lane, Chelmsford, she would be jailed and remanded her in custody until sentencing next month.

The “fantasist” claimed she was being blackmailed following a burglary at her home during which she alleged a sex tape had been stolen.

During the six months after the incident she claims she was slashed with a knife, kidnapped by the blackmailers and even raped.

But it took the jury of nine women and three women just a few hours to return its verdict.

Prosecutor Ramiz Gursoy suggested the judge should call for police commendations for the officers who led the investigations - Chief Inspector Glenn Maleary, Detective Sergeant Gary Robinson and Detective Inspector Philip Moody.

Judge Turner said: “This was a very unusual case investigated over a long period of time with lots of effort going in.

“A custodial sentence is overwhelmingly likely, in fact I would even go as far as to say inevitable.”

A series of medical and psychiatric reports have been ordered before sentencing next month.

Speaking afterwards, Chief Inspector Glenn Maleary, who led the investigation, said: “Out of greed and the pursuit of a fraudulent insurance claim, Michaela Britton spun a web of lies and deceit, putting at risk the liberty of innocent people.

“Investigating her fantasy stories and ultimately bringing her to justice has taken thousands of hours of police and prosecutors' time.

“Credit goes to the investigators whose tenacity and objectivity brought to an end the actions of this creative and serial con artist.

“Despite overwhelming evidence Britton continued in her fantasy world, causing distress to named individuals during her trial by alleging others were at fault and not her.

“During the trial, Britton attempted to tarnish the good reputation of Essex Police and individual officers in her continued pursuit of greed.

“I feel it a shame that this woman has gone to such extreme levels to convince the police, her friends and family that her lies were true, however I am delighted that the court process has listened intently to her case and has reached its own conclusion.”

Britton was remanded in custody and will be sentenced on December 22.

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