A WOMAN who was used by Hampshire police to spearhead an honour-based violence campaign has been jailed after making up a story that she had been gang raped.

Ikea cleaner Syeda Ali was the victim who told her harrowing story of sustained abuse and helped drive an awareness campaign about the crime.

But, jailing her for three years, a judge told the 30-year-old mum-of-three only prison would suffice after she concocted a story of abduction and rape by three men who were then arrested.

Southampton Crown Court heard how “fantasist”

Ali also carried out 16 frauds, by filling out false loan applications and submitting them to her employer, Provident Personal Credit Ltd.

Ali worked as an agent for the firm, which helps people who may struggle to ordinarily get a loan.

Her job was to get customers to fill in the paperwork and return it to the company who would make checks and then issue her with the cash.

The court was told Ali would then take the money to the customer who would pay it back through collections at the door.

But bosses became suspicious after more than five loan applications were made in one week.

Investigations found that many of the applicants didn’t live at the addresses listed, some National Insurance numbers were false, others were valid but belonged to other people and many of the socalled customers had never applied for a loan.

A manager approached Ali in June 2009 and found her in tears. When asked what was wrong, Ali told her she had been abducted and raped.

Prosecutor David Reid told the court how Ali described being “bundled into a car by three men”

before she was taken to a house in Derby Road, Southampton, and gang raped.

The court heard how detectives launched an investigation and found Ali had three previous husbands – all of whose names appeared on the fake loan applications.

Ali told them the names of three men who she claimed had raped her – and police found their names also on loan claims.

All three men were arrested, but enquiries found none of them were near Southampton at the time.

The following month Ali was arrested on suspicion of fraud and in December 2009 she was interviewed about the rape claims.

Ali, of Sandown Road, Shirley, admitted 16 counts of fraud and one charge of perverting the course of justice.

Mitigating, Jonathan Simpson said Ali was of previous good character and was found to have a personality disorder. He described her as a single mum who did not ever gain from the fraud as she was passing the money elsewhere.

After the case DC Gary Steward of Hampshire Police said: “Our investigation has proved this young woman lied about a very serious allegation of kidnap and rape.

“However, it does not diminish the hard work that we do to address the very real issues of honour- based violence. We take all allegations of sexual assault very seriously and will support the victims and investigate thoroughly to bring the offenders to justice.”

He added that this case should not discourage true victims of sexual offences from coming forward and reporting these crimes to police.