My son’s accuser Sarah Jane Parkinson is finally in prison, a long five years after trying to destroy my son using false allegations of rape and sexual assault.
See video of Michelle telling the whole story at the bottom of the page.
My son was accused of domestic violence by his girlfriend. She went to the local police station and obtained an Apprehended Violence Order. Then she tried to destroy his life. Her name is Sarah Jane Parkinson. My son is Daniel Jones.
She presented no evidence for her claim of violence, which was entirely fictitious.
When Daniel went to the police station to proclaim his innocence, the local area commander, Inspector Anthony Hill of the New South Wales Police, warned him that if he contested the AVO, he would present “five NSW Police witnesses” to support the AVO.
Daniel was agitated when he came home from that meeting. My husband, Ian, was angry. We sought legal advice. Daniel was advised by a solicitor not to contest the AVO. It was the first bad advice we received. We acted on this advice and that turned out to be a seriously bad mistake.
Based on our five years of hell dealing with the legal system, I would advise anyone who is subject to an AVO to contest it with full legal force. Do not trust the police. They are not on your side. Do not trust the courts. They are not impartial.
Daniel made a second mistake. He did not break off his relationship with Sarah Jane. They continued living together at his home in Canberra.
When he learned, for certain, that she was having an affair with NSW Senior Constable Scott White, he ended the relationship. Sarah Jane responded by accusing him of rape. She staged a crime scene and made accusations of a violent bashing and rape, carefully accounting for the absence of any forensic evidence. She claimed Daniel hosed her down after raping her. She said he used a condom. She placed an empty condom package at the scene. She offered no witnesses.
I still find it unbelievable that she was able to make these allegations without any evidence, forensic or otherwise, and be aided by the ACT Police, the NSW Police and the ACT office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. No-one asked the most basic question, such as where Daniel was at the time of the alleged rape?
When he was allegedly raping Sarah Jane he was photographed at our house, holding his tiny nephew, by his sister-in-law. Like all photos on an iPhone, it was time-dated and gave the location.
When four plain-clothes detectives turned up at our home, they didn’t tell us anything. As soon as I turned my back to get my phone and call our lawyer, they jumped the fence, handcuffed Daniel and took him away.
Our son was eventually charged on 32 counts, ranging from rape, to making death threats, to breaching the AVO, all based on the word of Sarah Jane Parkinson. No evidence.
The prosecutor was Amy Knibbs. She produced zero forensic evidence, zero physical evidence, zero medical evidence, zero witnesses, then argued that no bail be granted because of the seriousness of the alleged crime. She wanted Daniel to be held in prison.
This was when we realised the gravity of the mistake in not contesting the original AVO. Amy Knibbs was presenting this failure to contest as a form of admission by Daniel.
The magistrate ordered that Daniel be held at the Goulburn Correctional Centre, the most violent place in the state prison system. Daniel was a prison officer, which meant the Goulburn Supermax was a very dangerous place for him. He would be placed in solitary confinement, for his own protection.
I will never forget that day, sitting in court, our son in handcuffs, looking over his shoulder at us. All while Sarah Jane Parkinson and Scott White were living in Daniel’s house and Daniel was paying the mortgage.
I don’t think most families could afford what we spent on legal fees. It cost us more than$250,000. It wiped out our savings. It also cost us our marriage. Ian and I had been married for over thirty years. He had spent a career with the Australian Navy and when he said we were at war with the police, he meant it. Seeking justice became his obsession. He was angry most of the time.
When Sarah Jane realised that we would be a tenacious enemy, she went after us. She accused Ian of driving her off the road and threatening her with a knife. She accused me of verbal abuse and stalking.
She accused Ian of breaking into her home at least eight times and of stealing her iPad. That’s when her luck finally ran out. A detective turned up who was not stupid and malicious. Her name is Leesa Alexander.
Detective Alexander and another officer arrived at our house with a search warrant. They found Sarah Jane’s iPad in a plastic bag in the front garden. They had to think this was bizarre. We told them it was just the latest in a long line of false claims. No-one in our family had a police record. Daniel was a corrections officer. Ian was ex-Navy, with the highest security rating.
We also got lucky. Sarah Jane did not know that the AFP had installed a GPS tracker in her car, for her safety. When Detective Alexander checked this tracker it showed Sarah Jane had driven from her house to our place, stayed for thirty seconds, then left. Soon after, she had called the police to accuse Ian of theft. The GPS tracker was proof that Sarah Jane was not just a liar, but willing to plant evidence.
Detective Alexander decided to review all the evidence in the case. She got heated resistance from Acting Sergeant Scott Corcoran of the Australian Federal Police. He wanted her to stay out of the case. This furious reaction was the moment when Leesa realised Sarah Jane was the problem, not the victim. Her investigation found no corroborating evidence for any of the accusations made by Sarah Jane.
No forensic evidence. No medical evidence. No signed statements from witnesses. A pattern of failed police procedure. A failure of due diligence by the prosecution. She found the Queanbeyan police had suspiciously moved that original AVO application to Goulburn court, 100 kilometres away. All the evidence she found pointed towards false accusations. The GPS evidence that proved Sarah Jane had planted the iPad in our home. The time-stamped photograph of Daniel taken by his sister-in-law when he was supposed to have been raping Sarah Jane. The knife that Sarah Jane claimed my husband used after he allegedly ran her off the road turned out to be a knife from a matching set in Sarah Jane’s home.
Detective Alexander also learned, thanks to me, that when Sarah Jane was seventeen she claimed to have been raped by the father of one of the girls at her school. She put this man through hell and it was all lies.
While Detective Alexander was discovering all this, our son was in the Goulburn Supermax. He had been there for four months. Sarah Jane, meanwhile, was living in Daniel’s home with her lying cop boyfriend.
It took a month, but Detective Alexander produced a file of evidence that led the Director of Public Prosecutions to urgently request bail for Daniel. They were shamed into action. Daniel was released but confined to virtual house arrest at our home. Detective Alexander continued to investigate, but now it was into the conduct of Sarah Jane Parkinson.
When our nightmare ended up in court, it was Sarah Jane who was on trial. She was charged with making false accusations and public mischief. We gave evidence for the prosecution.
Everything I’ve said about this case has made under oath in court. The man she had accused of rape when she seventeen also gave evidence against her, as did his three daughters.
The whole process lasted five years, from the day the first AVO landed in December 2013 to the sentencing of Sarah Jane Parkinson in January 2018, to the charging of Scott White for perjury in 2018. It broke my marriage. It destroyed my family’s life’s savings. It stripped a year from my son’s life. And who really paid any serious price? No-one. John White, the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions, retired after the story blew up in the media.
Amy Knibbs, the prosecutor who put Daniel into prison, left Australia and is now a political activist in the United States. Scott Corcoran, who tried to stop the investigation into the conspiracy, was allowed to resign from the AFP despite multiple disciplinary issues.
Scott White, who moved in with Sarah Jane, was charged with perjury and weapons offences. He was suspended on full pay by the NSW Police. A slap on the wrist.
NSW Police Inspector Anthony Hill, who started the conspiracy by claiming he had “five Police witnesses” against Daniel, has, as far as I know, faced no discipline. Not even Sarah Jane Parkinson paid a high price. She was sentenced to three years in jail but will be out in 2021. She has married Scott White and will simply change her name and move on.
Detective Leesa Alexander, the officer who turned the case around, was shunted off to East Timor. Daniel sold his home, moved to Perth and started a new life. I’ve also moved to Perth. I’m still working because I can’t afford to retire.
Ian stayed in Canberra and stayed at war for justice. He lodged complaints with the NSW Ombudsman, the ACT Ombudsman, the Commonwealth Ombudsman, the NSW Police Internal Affairs, the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission, the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, the Professional Standards unit of the Australian Federal Police and the AFP Commissioner himself. The result? Nothing. If all this seems like a cover up, it is a cover-up. We have been failed by every level of the criminal justice system.
Learn from our mistakes. If a member of your family is unjustifiably accused of sexual assault, go on the attack. Hire a criminal lawyer. Demand proof. Demand sworn witness statements. Demand forensic evidence. Demand due process.
Finally, instruct your counsel to cite ‘DPP v Sarah Jane Parkinson’, the judgement delivered by ACT Magistrate Beth Campbell in January, 2018, which sentenced the false accuser to prison (CC7497/14, CC5647/15, CC5648/15, CC1910/15, CC1911/15, CC1912/15).
Put some trepidation into your accusers that it’s not all one way. Our case may be extreme, but every government agency we contacted refused to acknowledge that there was a police conspiracy, involving numerous officers, which destroyed our family’s savings, stole my son’s freedom and sought to put an innocent man in prison for up to twenty years.
We spent five years of our lives and paid over $250,000 to lawyers and bureaucrats to protect ourselves from crooked cops and an ideological prosecution and our tax-funded civil servants don’t want to see the problem. They pretend justice was served.
This is the most extreme failure of all.
Watch this video of Michelle telling the whole story:
Read more stories from mothers of sons who have faced injustice here