A teenage girl who falsely accused an innocent driver of pretending to be a police officer and ordering her to ‘get out of the f***ing car’, later blamed her lies on the impact Sarah Everard’s murder had on her.
Olivia Johnson, of Blakenall, Walsall, in the West Midlands, ‘concocted’ the tale which later landed the man, 66, in custody, a court heard.
The 19-year-old claimed a motorist had gestured at her to pull over her Volkswagen Polo and then shouted, ‘Get out of the f***ing car, it’s a stolen f***ing car.’
But the 66-year-old actually flashed his lights at her to ‘help’ because she didn’t have her own lights switched on.
He said he tried to help as it was getting dark and there was ‘torrential’ rain – and never spoke a word to her.
Johnson, however, reported him to the police a few hours later and made up the story that he had impersonated a cop. She maintained the account for four days, portraying herself as a victim.
But her story unraveled following a close inspection of CCTV and an extensive police investigation.
Prosecutors said she blamed her actions on the impact the death of Sarah Everard had on her. Sarah was kidnapped, raped and murdered by Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens in March last year.
Johnson, of Stag Crescent in Blakenall, Walsall, West Midlands, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice. She wept as she was sentenced to eight months in detention at a Young Offender Institution on Thursday [July 7]
The victim, who was left distraught by the ordeal, remained a suspect for more than two months until his file was eventually closed on Christmas Eve.
Johnson pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice. She wept as she was sentenced to eight months in detention at a Young Offender Institution on Thursday (July 7).
Judge Melbourne Inman QC, passing sentence at Birmingham Crown Court, said the offense ‘undermines the whole of public justice’.
The encounter between Johnson and the victim occurred at around 3:10pm on October 4 last year as she was driving along Bentley Mill Way, Walsall, and noticed a Nissan Juke behind her.
The teenager blamed her actions on the death of Sarah Everard (pictured), who was kidnapped, raped and murdered by Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens in March last year.
Prosecutor John Brotherton repeated the story she later told the police in her statement.
Mr. Brotherton said: ‘She said he flashed her numerous times and gestured to pull over. She stopped the vehicle. The driver got out and approached the driver’s side of her Polo.
She opened the window slightly to talk to him. He said: ‘Get out of the f***ing car, it’s a stolen f***ing car’. He tried to open the door. Ms Johnson said: ‘It’s my car, I’ve got proof it’s my vehicle. I will show it to you’.
The man said: ‘Get out right now, I’m a police officer’. The defendant asked to see his badge. He replied: ‘I don’t have a badge’ and tried to open the rear door. She tried to drive off when she received a last thump to her car. She said she feared for her own safety.’
The prosecutor said Johnson parked up at Reedswood Retail Park and reported the ‘incident’ at 6:56pm via the West Midlands Police live chat facility. The motorist was arrested the following day.
Johnson was unable to pick him out during an identification parade.
Mr. Brotherton added: ‘He is mentally disturbed and has been since the incident. He was severely shaken up.
He had only been trying to help by flashing his lights. It has affected his wife and children. He has been in custody for almost 24 hours.
‘He was petrified, he was going to be charged. He felt stunned and criminalized. He can’t put into words how deeply upset he is about it.’
The file was not closed until December 24 despite the Crown Prosecution Service making an ‘early decision’ not to charge him with impersonating a police officer.
Judge Melbourne Inman QC, passing sentence at Birmingham Crown Court, said the offense ‘undermines the whole of public justice’
Judge Inman said a ‘significant amount of work’ went into investigating Johnson’s allegation, which unraveled after they had trawled CCTV of the area from the time of the incident.
She blamed her actions on the impact of Sarah Everard’s death on her. Sarah was kidnapped, raped and murdered by Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens in March last year.
Mr Brotherton said: ‘The defendant made references throughout the course of her police interview to her concerns over Sarah Everard, how it impacted on her and why she acted the way she did.’
Joshua Purser, mitigating, conceded his client had ‘concocted an incredibly dangerous fiction’.
Mr Purser said: ‘Behind me is a girl disgraced, ashamed, and this morning dumbfounded at the reality of this fantasy she created upon an innocent man.’
He said a psychiatrist had diagnosed Johnson, now 20, as having a ‘borderline personality disorder’ while her home life at the time was ‘far from straightforward’.
Mr. Purser told the court his client suffered from anxiety and depression, adding: ‘The instigation route of this whole story was a panic attack at the wheel in which she heard voices.
Killer policeman Wayne Couzens used Covid laws to stop, handcuff and stage the fake arrest of Sarah Everard before strangling her ‘with his police belt’, the Old Bailey heard – as it emerged he had spent hours prowling the streets of Central London looking for a lone woman to attack. Couzens, 48, cuffed the 33-year-old marketing executive’s hands behind her back, leaving her unable to undo the seatbelt he strapped around her after ordering her into the back of his rental car.
‘These allegations arose rather obscenely from voices she heard at the time.
She admits to me how stupid she is. The reality is she is not someone so stupid she is beyond rehabilitation.’
The judge acknowledged Johnson’s mental health issues but concluded that they had not been the cause of her persisting in her false account for four days.
Judge Inman said: ‘You were keen to portray yourself as a victim. The author of the pre-sentence report recalls you saying you realized what you were saying to the police was not true and was false. It wasn’t a case of you being deluded.
Those who commit this type of offense, make big allegations and as a result innocent people are harmed, must expect immediate custodial sentences whatever the mitigation. The offense of perverting the course of public justice undermines the whole of public justice.’
Judge Inman reduced the term of detention taking into account Johnson’s age, guilty plea, and lack of previous convictions.
But he ruled there were no ‘exceptional circumstances’ to justify suspending the sentence.