LESS than four weeks before apologising to his victims in the pages of the Adver, Rhys Carey perverted the course of justice with false allegations of rape against another man.

At Swindon Crown Court yesterday the 22-year-old, whose last registered address was in Abberd Way, Calne, received a nine-month suspended sentence for the offence.

On August 23 last year, Carey walked to the house of a man, new to Swindon, with whom he had struck up a conversation in an internet chatroom.

The meeting took place under the impression a film would be watched by the pair. This led to Carey spending the night with the man and having consensual sex.

The day after, the men agreed to go their separate ways, though not before the other man agreed to give Carey a lift in his car to where he needed to be.

Before Carey left the car he demanded £50 from the man and said he would accuse him of rape if he did not give him the money.

He threatened his victim with photos he had taken of him in bed at his home, as well as with his DNA that Carey said he would have on his person following their night together.

The man refused to hand over the money and there ensued a race to contact the police first. The man logged an accusation of blackmail shortly before Carey, sitting next to him in the car, told the police he had been raped the night before.

In a pre-sentence report the man said he felt faint as he was taken away in a police van, on suspicion of rape. He faced more than an hour in custody before Carey dropped his accusation, during questioning at the police station.

Carey had also been arrested at the same time under suspicion of blackmail.

Twenty-five days later Carey walked 16 miles to the Adver’s office in order to apologise to the long list of people, who fell victim to his robberies on the streets of Swindon.

He suffers from a range of illnesses including epilepsy, diabetes and hydrocephalus which means he has no frontal lobe to his brain and cannot empathise with others or control his emotions.

In sentencing him Judge Tim Mousley QC, said: “As a result of that story, [the victim] was arrested and detained. He was released when you admitted the activity had been consensual.

“It follows from that, you perverted the course of justice.

“In this case, it’s so serious that a custodial sentence is justified.

“If this case had gone before judge and jury the sentence would have been in the region of 12 months imprisonment.

“There is a positive report detailing your excellent level of compliance and engagement with help for your drug issues.

“In addition to your sentence I add three conditions: There will be a supervision requirement for 12 months, a medium intensity drug rehabilitation course for four months and a full Thinking Skills programme.”

The judge decided to suspend the sentence for 18 months because Carey had been complying with the terms of an existing suspended sentence since August 30.

The judge also referred to Carey’s learning difficulties, as well as the fact that he was no longer homeless and was attempting to tackle his drug problems as other justifications for suspending the sentence.