Worth keeping this horrific event front and centre when discussing the need for action to curb false allegations of rape, assault or domestic and family violence
Sarah-Jane Parkinson was jailed for serial lies that almost drove her fiancé to suicide and left his parents broke. Now her victims want answers.
Armed with a compelling but entirely fabricated story of rape and abuse, Parkinson went on to systematically ruin Mr Jones and his family, destroying his parents’ 32-year marriage and draining them of their life savings.
Unbeknown to her future husband and in-laws, Parkinson had spent the previous year casting herself in the role of abused woman, blaming innocently acquired bruises and other injuries on Mr. Jones and logging each “incident” with police colleagues to craft a pattern of violence.
Even after the unravelling of Parkinson’s lies — a carefully planted condom wrapper, a self-inflicted head injury, a fake knife wound, a staged burglary and made-up stories of hired goons forcing her off the road — authorities continued to pursue Mr. Jones and his father Ian who was also targeted by false allegations.
“When I first got charged, I found out (Parkinson) had been keeping a diary of things that never happened,” Mr. Jones, a former Australian Federal Police (AFP) dog handler, told news.com.au. “She’d written entries going back more than six months with a view to using it as a historical document in court.”
Another revelation soon followed: Parkinson had been having an affair with a NSW police officer — a man she is now married to — who is currently the subject of an internal investigation.
Daniel Jones and his former fiancee Sarah Jane Parkinson who is serving three years for fake rape allegations. Picture: Supplied
In January, the former ACT Policing clerk was sentenced to three years jail for making false rape accusations and faking a crime scene, behaviour Magistrate Beth Campbell described as “wicked” and “incomprehensible”.
The motive, according to prosecutors, was to get her hands on a Canberra house the pair had bought just weeks before Parkinson launched a slew of false allegations and domestic violence orders designed to lock him out of the property.
But justice is bittersweet — and expensive. Instead of celebrating a hard-fought victory and moving on with their lives, the Joneses are still suffering.
Had the case played out in a lower court, the family would have been eligible for costs, but the seriousness of Parkinson’s allegations meant it was referred to the state’s highest jurisdiction.
A GoFundMe campaign has so far raised $8500 for the family, while a Change.org petition calling on ACT Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay to grant ex-gratia payments to the Joneses has garnered more than 1400 signatures.
In a bombshell letter to Canberra ministers and senior police, Ian Jones accuses ACT Policing of running “a targeted and totally unprofessional investigation” against Daniel and his family.
Police failed to “interview or seek to allay or substantiate any of the accusations made by Parkinson with any member of the family, destroyed evidence that did not suit their case, manufactured evidence (and) threatened and intimidated witnesses that did not or would not corroborate their wild accusations,” Mr Jones claimed.
Sarah Jane Parkinson’s false rape allegations landed her former fiancee in Goulburn maximum security jail for more than four months. Picture: Facebook
In the letter, seen by news.com.au, Mr Jones said ACT police “passed information from phone intercepts, texts and emails either directly to her or through her NSW Police boyfriend (now husband) to cover the glaring holes in her statements, which were then amended to fill these holes.
“The ACT Director of Public Prosecutions ran a vicious prosecution and took 32 charges (including threat to kill, rape, sexual assault) to the ACT Supreme Court with no evidence, either physical, medical or forensic.
“The DPP was using Parkinson as a reliable witness to continue prosecuting Dan, while they were prosecuting her for making false allegations, then using her as a reliable witness to prosecute me for an alleged breach of the conditions of a DVO (domestic violence order).”
‘WITHOUT MUM AND DAD, I’D STILL BE IN JAIL TODAY’
In his darkest hours at Goulburn’s maximum security jail, where Mr Jones languished for four-and-a-half months, he contemplated suicide.
“I was sectioned off, I was in the segregation yard, the protection wing out the back where they keep the dogs (informers) and the paedophiles, and if you’re in there, it’s presumed you’re one of them too,” he told news.com.au.
“I wrote a lot of letters to family and friends because that was the only form of communication other than a phone call every other day. Sometimes they’d screw that up, and you‘d have to wait four days for the chance to use the phone again.
“I drew, I read (Parkinson’s) Statement of Facts over and over again, picking out new (false) details. There was no clock or anything so I never knew what time it was.
“You get to those dark times where you think maybe it would be better not to be around anymore, not be a burden on mum and dad. I thought, you know, would my life insurance cover it (the legal bills)?
“I even got to the point where I thought: if I died, it might make her rethink her actions and feel sorry about what she’d done. But then she would have won, and that’s wrong.
“To have those thoughts, to be suicidal, it’s kind of scary. It’s hard to get out of that headspace because it’s all negative, negative, negative.
“Mum and dad kept me going, they gave up everything for me. They were determined to get justice. Defeat is not something we acknowledge. Defeat is not an option. I’d be in a hole without them. I guarantee you I’d still be there (in jail) today.”
Daniel Jones spent almost five months in Goulburn maximum security jail for a crime he did not commit. Picture: 60 Minutes
In her victim impact statement, tendered at Parkinson’s sentencing and seen by news.com.au, Mr Jones’ mother Michelle said she and her husband were so fearful for their son’s safety they had a will drawn up.
“While Daniel was wrongfully incarcerated I also had to organise his will and funeral wishes should anything untoward occur to him while he was held in Goulburn maximum security jail,” she said.
“This was particularly distressful as Daniel and other family members worked in law enforcement, and I was fully aware of the dangers and feared for Daniel’s safety throughout this period.”
STALKED AND TERRORISED BY POLICE
Life for Mr Jones and his family got even worse after he was released on bail conditions so restrictive he was unable to attend work or move around freely.
Meanwhile, Parkinson was constantly calling police with fake claims he was breaching his conditions in a bid to have him sent back to jail.
Mr Jones, his father Ian, mother Michelle and brother Andrew were all subject to intimidation at the hands of police who would carry out unwarranted traffic stops, follow them in unmarked police cars and make a show of patrolling the family home.
“I can spot an unmarked police car a mile off now,” Mr Jones told news.com.au.
There were also unsettling phone calls in the middle of the night. The caller would simply hang up and they never found out who was responsible.
It got so bad that Ian and Michelle were forced to pay for their son to relocate to Western Australia, where he lived with relatives, to stop Parkinson making false stalking claims against him.
She even accused his parents of stealing her iPad before a tracking device on her car helped investigators prove she had driven up to their property and dumped the tablet on their lawn herself.
In her victim impact statement, Michelle described the incredible and costly lengths the family went to — to protect themselves from the very people who were supposed to be protecting them.
“Additional costs incurred by me include the installation of closed circuit television at our family home due to the ongoing allegations by Parkinson relating to family whereabouts and the intimidation of ACT police activity, including but not limited to: multiple visits to our family home each week; questioning of neighbours including those at past residences; visiting businesses we frequented and questioning the owners; patrolling and parking of police vehicles outside the family home; and in addition nuisance phone calls at all times of the day and night; damage to our vehicles; and the tampering of residential property utilities,” she said.
“At all times my family and I have had to be vigilant in recording our whereabouts and actions to justify our activities, whereabouts and behaviour.”
Though traumatised and broke, the Joneses are refusing to lie down and accept their lot. They want their $800,000 back, they want ACT Policing, the ACT judiciary and the ACT DPP to be accountable for their actions. They want justice.
“It’s been a very long six years, but I feel that with (Parkinson’s) prosecution, the shoe has been on the other foot for the last two,” Mr Jones told news.com.au.
And, as his parents drummed into him when he thought he was going to die in jail, defeat is not an option. Not for this family.