|Southall PC Jailed For Faking Child Sex Assault Report|
Hitesh Lakhani was in dispute with council worker over a garden hedge
A police constable from Southall who falsely accused a council street cleaner of sexually assaulting a child after an argument about cleaning up his garden hedges has been jailed for three years.
PC Hitesh Lakhani, 42, who was off duty at the time, called police saying he'd seen a man beckon a child of around five years old into some bushes while her mother walked ahead on a residential street in Uxbridge on 5 September, 2018. He claimed to have seen the man pull his shorts down and place the little girl’s hand on him, before her mother noticed she was missing and called out to her, allowing her to escape.
Lakhani said he confronted the offender and took a photograph of him. He presented the photo to police when they arrived. The image was circulated across Hillingdon police’s social media feeds in order to identify the culprit of the alleged assault. It called on the public to contact Crimestoppers if they recognised the man.
Upon further investigation by the police, CCTV evidence from a neighbouring house proved the sexual assault could not have happened.
Lakhani was found guilty of perverting the course of justice at Kingston Crown Court in December 2019 and has been sentenced to three years' imprisonment.
David Davies, from the CPS, said: “This was a baseless accusation against a hard-working man by a serving police officer.
“Hitesh Lakhani called 101 alleging he had witnessed a sexual assault that he knew did not happen. This was a spiteful act over a disagreement about hedge trimmings in his front garden spilling on to the street.
“A police investigation found no trace of sexual crimes being reported in the vicinity, various inaccuracies in Lakhani’s account and CCTV evidence from a neighbouring house, which proved the sexual assault could not have happened.
“The most worrying aspect of this case was that Lakhani, as a police officer, presented as a credible witness to a serious allegation where there was an identified suspect. The implications for this victim could have been profound, but we were able to prove Lakhani’s account was entirely fictional and unfounded.
“I hope this prosecution serves as a reminder that nobody is above the law.”
14th January 2020