Two teenage girls were reprimanded by police after detectives discovered they lied about one of them being sexually assaulted in a Greater Manchester park by a cyclist. Greater Manchester Police (GMP) issued an image of a man they wanted to speak to in connection with the alleged sexual assault, who was brought in for questioning beforehand.
The accusation was made by a 13-year-old girl out walking with her 12-year-old friend along a dirt track, leading from Lilford Park towards Green Lane in Leigh, Wigan, at around 6.30pm on 2 April. After an appeal was picked up by some news websites, including an image of the man, it emerged that the girl had lied about being the victim of assault. Police eventually dropped the case, removing the man from their enquires, following calls from members of the public and an interview with the man in question – who presented himself at a police station in order to clear his name.
The GMP said both girls have been spoken to by their parents and will be writing letters of apology to the wrongly accused – with all parties agreeing that "restorative justice" was the best outcome. Detective Constable Brian Johnston said: "First and foremost, I would like to send my sincerest thanks to the members of public who came forward and helped with our investigation.
"Your assistance has resulted in an, and wrongs being righted. Quite what inspired the girls to lie about such a serious and terrible crime, I cannot say. But they have spoken to in the strongest possible terms and are under no illusions as to the severity of what they have done and how damaging false allegations can be.
"Thankfully, their parents and the man in question were fully supportive of restorative justice and the girls will now have the chance to apologise fully for the terrible accusations they fabricated against this poor man."