A young woman who falsely claimed she had been hauled into bushes and raped twice by the same man in the same park five months apart has been jailed for two years. A court heard former Edinburgh Academy pupil Naima Shereen Mirza, 21, ‘spun a web of lies and deceit’, causing police to waste hundreds of hours investigating her malicious allegations. Officers became suspicious when Mirza named her attacker as a man from Perth, who was actually in jail at the time the alleged offences took place, which was when she was a pupil at Edinburgh Academy.
After searching her property, they found a journal where she documented her increasingly alarming thoughts and fantasies, including the names and offences of rapists and sexual offenders from around Scotland. She later told detectives she concocted the attacks to explain her poor exam results after failing to get in to Strathclyde University, in Glasgow. Mirza denied that on various occasions between May 15, 2012, and April 2, 2013, she falsely represented to police officers and civilian operators at the 999 service that she had been sexually assaulted and raped in Edinburgh’s King George V park.
But a jury of 12 women and three men found her guilty after a nine-day trial earlier this month at Edinburgh Sheriff Court. The first police officer to interview Mirza was DC Lesley Robertson of the Public Protection Unit on May 15. She described how Mirza sat with her hair over her face as she talked to her and ran out of the room several times. She said she found her behaviour quite strange. ‘I had concerns about her hiding her face and running out of the room’ she said. ‘I had the impression it was very well planned. I didn’t see any real distress or anything like that’.
She said she wanted to do an extra year at school as she thought she had not done well in the exams. The court heard she did well in one exam however, getting 80 per cent for Drama. Sentencing Mirza, Sheriff Michael O’Grady QC told her: ‘In many years in these courts in one capacity or another, I have come across the whole range of hateful, hideous and downright bizarre things that people do to each other and the world at large. ‘But I doubt, however, in all that time that I have encountered a course of conduct so strange, so needless and so hard to fathom as yours.’