My cry-rape hell': Wrongly accused man tells of his 11-month nightmare

A man maliciously accused of a rape he didn't commit is calling for a change in the law after speaking out about what he describes as the worst 11 months of  his life.

Terry Harrison, 34, lost his home and had it attacked and burgled after single mother Shirley Prince, 42, claimed he raped her during a house party in May last year.

She admitted perverting the course of justice last Tuesday and was jailed for three months after appearing at Durham Crown Court. 

'It was hell': Terry Harrison was maliciously accused of rape and says he endured the worst 11 months of his life because of it

As part of his bail conditions Terry wasn't allowed to visit his home town and missed family birthdays and a funeral.   

He also lost the tenancy on his house and was forced to live in a hostel in  Middlesbrough for five months.

In an attempt to deal with his ordeal, he turned to alcohol and sleeping pills. 

Terry, from Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, where Prince is also from, said: 'It was hell, I felt lower than low and several times I contemplated killing myself.

'I thought about chucking myself off the Tyne Bridge.

'It was horrible. I was tossing and turning every night, I could never sleep. 

'My windows were put through.

'I just had to get on with it. I kept thinking: 'Is this really happening?' I couldn't believe it.

'I cannot believe how long the lies went on for.

'I kept expecting it to be over. I thought she would tell the truth or police would drop it when they found no DNA - but it went on and on.  

'It is one of the worst crimes I could imagine and something I would never do.

'I was going insane with the accusations going round my head, being away from my home town and friends and family.

'The law should definitely be changed, it's not right that innocent men are named and shamed for something they haven't done.

'Men guilty of rape deserve everything they get, but I didn't deserve it.'

Terry also fell victim to vigilantes while under police investigation.

He said: 'I was spat at in the street, I had my windows put through and my house was  burgled.  

'I just wanted to be believed but with a case like this people judge you to be guilty until proven innocent.

'I felt so ashamed, I felt like everyone looking at me thought I was a rapist,  I was losing my head thinking about it.

'My head felt battered, I even missed out on jobs because I wasn't allowed to move abroad.

'There was just me and four walls most of the time, I felt I was being punished for something I hadn't done. I just wanted people to listen and believe me.'

In a desperate attempt to clear his name Terry broke his bail conditions and intimidated a witness for which he ended up in prison.

He said: 'I admit I broke my bail conditions. I went out and I shouldn't and went back home.

'I lost my temper one night and sent a text message saying I'd kill someone. I never meant it literally, but was prosecuted for witness intimidation.

'I was put in prison with paedophiles and rapists. Even some of the prisoners hated me because they knew I was accused of rape. It was horrible. People were  threatening to slice me up.'

Terry blames Prince for the '11 worst months' of his life.

He said: 'I felt sorry for her at first but then I just felt anger. I hate her for what she has done, me and my family have been through hell. I'm just glad my mum can now walk round with her head held high.  

'I just can't believe it went on for so long. It was mental torture, I was in limbo for nearly a year.

'A year of being told I'm a rapist has taken my confidence away to be honest. I don't know where to start rebuilding my life. I'm slowly getting it back and starting to hold my head up high again. Hopefully I can get my life back to  where it was before.

'The police just kept saying over and over 'you've done it, you've done it, we don't believe you'. I was being told I was guilty that much that I began to feel guilty.  

'There wasn't one shred of evidence, there was no truth in it whatsoever, I  just kept wondering how it got so far. I feel like I was used as a media tool because the police want to convict more rapists.

'She wasn't a child, but she still went through it all - all the tests and all the rest of it. She's pure evil, she only accused me because I said I didn't love her, I don't know how a woman could have that mentality.'

Terry now wants to put his ordeal behind him.

He said: 'It's finally over. I'm finally getting my confidence back and starting to hold my head up high again.  

'I just want everyone to know so that I can clear my name and get my life back on track.

'I need people to hear my side and accept I'm innocent.'

Detective Superintendent Andy Reddick, of Durham Police, said: 'We investigate  thoroughly any rape allegation and have the highest detection rate in the country.   

'Occasionally false allegations are made, not always maliciously, but for all sorts of reasons.  

'We think lots of rapes on women and men go unreported, so have to reassure  victims if they come to us they will be treated sensitively.'