Toddler taken from home in middle of night and put in care for three days after woman made fake sex abuse report to NSPCC
A toddler was removed from home in the middle of the night and spent three days in care after a fake sex abuse report was made to the NSPCC.
Sarah Archibald made a malicious complaint against a rival family on the child protection charity's online portal and sparked an investigation that resulted in the tot undergoing an invasive and unnecessary medical examination.
The 40-year-old, of Stockley Road, Washington, has now been put behind bars by a judge who said it was a "horrific allegation" to make.
Prosecutor Shaun Dryden told Newcastle Crown Court Archibald submitted the false allegation under another person's name and claimed the child was being sexually abused by its dad.
Mr Dryden said the dad was not arrested or questioned by the police but the child was placed into local authority care and underwent an "invasive" examination to look for signs of sexual abuse.
The investigation revealed "no evidence" that anything had happened to the child.
The dad said in court that what Archibald did was "despicable" and added: "It destroyed my world".
He added: "I was accused of sexual abuse, the evil, lowest thing that has ever happened to me.
"The thought sickens me to my stomach."
The dad said Archibald's false allegation wasted the time of the NSPCC, who he said was an "amazing" charity and could have been helping others at the time.
The child's mother said what happened "rocked my world" and said the child continued to wake up at 2am afterwards, which was the time of being taken from her home.
The mum said in a statement, which she read in court: "I believe it was the stressful situation of being woken up and taken by strangers in the middle of the night."
Archibald admitted sending an electronic communication with intent to cause stress or anxiety and has been jailed for 10 months.
Judge Stephen Earl told her: "It's an horrific matter.
"It is the sort of allegation that causes exactly what did happen and potentially more, there was a risk of more than that, which makes this as horrendous as it is.
"The catastrophic affect of anyone having their child removed when they have done nothing wrong must be absolutely horrendous.
"This thing destroys families, that is the truth of the matter.
"This sort of allegation has the ability to ruin lives. I cannot, in all conscience, think of a worse allegation that can be made against a man, or potentially a woman.
"The effect has been so damaging."
Shaun Routledge, defending, said Archibald, has "problems of her own" and is a carer to her son, who has health problems.
Mr Routledge said Archibald is capable of rehabilitation, has been in no trouble since and has a family that relies upon her.