Happened To Me
( shown on Channel 5)
Lance Dawson a special needs teacher from
Stockport dealt with teenagers who had psychological problems. One of these, who
actually had a history of making false allegations, accused Lance of having
September Stockport social services summoned Lance to their offices. He
was told that one of the teenagers had made an allegation of sexual assault
One of the most surprising things for Lance was that he had never
taught this girl and also that she was known to be a very sick and disturbed
Lance was sent home and there followed a
two-month inquiry. It involved the social services, the educational staff, the
voluntary workers and "virtually everybody in the place."
The records showed that when the alleged
attack took place, Lance was more than 12 miles away. And after an exhaustive
inquiry Lance was eventually cleared.
When he returned to work, the girl changed her
allegation from sexual abuse to rape. The police turned up to Lance's house and
made the allegation in front of his daughter.
Lance was devastated that his daughter had to
deal with this. "That hurt me a lot," said Lance.
Lance started drinking heavily and began to
live a nightmare.
It took about six weeks for the police to
determine that the allegation was pure fantasy because it became clear to them
that the girl had been making the whole story up.
he was in for a big shock
Emotionally battered and exhausted, Lance
decided that the only way forward for the moment was to get back into the swing
of things and put all his energies back into his work. However, he was in for a
big shock, because he was never allowed to teach in the school again. He was now
deemed to be unemployable, and he found that he had been dismissed.
Since then, Lance has come close to suicide on
many occasions. He has lost everything that he had worked for. And even though
this girl was proved to be a liar, nothing at all happened to her. And she
cannot even be named.
"The only reason that I did not top
myself was because of my kids," said Lance.
"They took away my job. They took away my
friends. They took away my colleagues. I have got three qualifications which are
of no use to me any more. I am now trying to find the strength to build a new
life. I still have nightmares. I never know when I can fall asleep. I never know
when I am going to wake up.
Never again will Lance be able to work in the
job for which he devoted over twenty years of his life.
Mark Jackson was another man falsely accused
of rape. He ended up paying a very heavy price indeed.
chance, Mark bumped into his ex-girlfriend one evening. He invited her back to
his flat for a drink. One thing led to another, and they both admitted to having
Sometime later the police turned up to
his workplace and arrested him claiming that his ex-girlfriend had accused him
According to his mother, Irene, Mark was taken
to a cell where all his clothes were removed. "He had every part of his
body swabbed. His fingernails were swabbed. They took samples of pubic hair. He
was completely humiliated and degraded by the system, and he was terribly
ashamed about what he had been accused of."
Mark had to spend NINE MONTHS in a remand
When the case eventually came to court, the evidence from the
ex-girlfriend was completely destroyed by the defence. The jury found that she
had clearly been lying and Mark was acquitted very quickly.
However, Mark was not to be left alone. He
discovered that his local newspaper had printed her side of the story. The large
headline to the story was ...
Jilted Man, 21, Raped his Ex-Girlfriend
was extremely prejudicial to Mark (who was, of course, named) and anyone reading
it was likely to think the Mark was guilty, so biased was it.
Mark could not face it. He was a broken man.
He felt that no one would ever believe that he was innocent even though he had
proved his case in court. According to his mother, he became a recluse and
hardly ever left the house.
At 7.45am one Sunday morning, Mark hanged
His mother's bitterness comes through her
tears. "As the law stands the name of this woman cannot be revealed. Even
after five years I cannot mention this woman's name. She is allowed to walk
free. No one knows who she is. Nobody knows what she has done, and she could
easily do all this to another man."
It Happened To Me was produced by Independent
Image for ITN.