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Women falsely told police they were abducted and locked in pub

The two teenagers sparked a huge police probe after calling 999 while being given refuge.

Court: The women were convicted over their fabricated story (file pic).
Court: The women were convicted over their fabricated story (file pic).

Two teenagers sparked a major police probe when they pretended they had been abducted and held against their will in a bar.

Alice Nicol and Cathryn Spencer's lies tied up the whole of central Scotland's CID for an entire shift, a court was told.

Two men were arrested and held for several hours in police cells while the bar was forensically searched and hours of police time wasted.

The young women falsely claimed they had been walking past the Claymores pub in Stirling on their way back from a nearby nightclub when Spencer, then 18, "got dragged in by some guy".

Stirling Sheriff Court heard that, in fact, Nicol, then 19, and Spencer together with a third woman were given refuge in the pub because barman Declan Dufficy, 27, thought they were too drunk to be out on the streets and there was a shortage of taxis.

The two women were seen on CCTV "laughing and joking" outside the closed pub with Mr Dufficy and his friend, Alistair McEwan, 29, before going in with them.

Depute fiscal Laura Knox said it was a matter of agreement between prosecution and defence that "all five of them went into the pub willingly together" in the early hours of December 27 last year.

At around 6am, Spencer phoned police from the ladies' toilets in Claymores and claimed they had been locked in the toilets.

Nicol said one of the two men had kicked the toilet door in and they had "run past" the two men, got partway down stairs but were stopped in their tracks.

Officers went to the scene and led Nicol and Spencer out of the building and arrested the men. The third woman, who was not involved in the false claims, had left earlier.

CCTV showed Nicol leaving the pub freely only six minutes before Spencer called police. She was chatting to the driver of a car in the street before going back into the bar again.

Nicol was found guilty after trial and Spencer pleaded guilty. 

Sheriff William Gilchrist said both women had given "very precise, incredibly detailed blow-by-blow" false accounts of their fictitious ordeal.

The women were accused of wasting police time. Sheriff Gilchrist found Nicol, who had denied the offence, guilty, and deferred sentence on both for background reports.

He said that, according to a statement of agreed evidence, "the entire CID of the Forth Valley Division of Police Scotland was involved in the investigation of the allegations for their entire shift".

Sheriff Gilchrist said: "It was a huge waste of police resources, quite apart from the impact on those who were the object of the false allegations.

"In my view the appropriate sentence will be one where you pay something back to the community in view of the waste of resources that resulted from these false allegations."

Nicol said in evidence: "Catherine thought one of the guys was being a bit weird and she phoned the police and that's when everything started to go wrong.

"I don't think I actually said that we were abducted. I told the police it hadn't been a big deal for me."

Greg Cunningham, defence solicitor for Spencer, said his client, a mobile care officer, had also been very drunk.

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