LEFT: Paul Joseph with femme fatale Kate Woodhead
With her flowing blonde hair and fondness for tight jodhpurs, keen horsewoman Kate Woodhead could have galloped straight from the pages of a Jilly Cooper blockbuster.
Or so £200,000-a-year IT consultant Paul Joseph thought when he first set eyes on her as she showed him around a luxury rental property in Guildford.
He didn’t take the property, but got to keep the girl.
Today, as Mr Joseph, 39, surveys the wreckage of his life, he rues the day he ever set eyes on Woodhead, 31.
Their volatile two-year relationship cost him dearly. ‘I was like a lamb to the slaughter,’ he says, shaking his head in disbelief. ‘She tried to destroy me and very nearly succeeded.’
For, in an act of revenge, Miss Woodhead, 31, stripped her ex-partner of everything he owned when his feelings towards her cooled.
He lost his job, home, reputation, luxury cars, collection of paintings, his BMW motorbike, Rolex watches, tailored suits and other possessions worth more than £100,000. At one point he had nothing but the clothes on his back and 6p in his pocket.
So how did Woodhead achieve all this? By falsely accusing him of rape.
Earlier this month at Guildford Crown Court, Woodhead was found guilty of perverting the course of justice by making a false allegation of rape, fraud and two counts of theft following a three-week trial, during which a jury decided her dramatic story was a tissue of lies.
Denying the charges, she claimed Mr Joseph had raped her after drugging her with a sandwich laced with the tranquiliser Diazepam, adding salacious details about him being ‘turned on’ as he removed her jodhpurs.
Mr Joseph was put through the indignity of defending his reputation in court, even though he was not being charged with any offence.
‘If it hadn’t been so serious, I would have laughed,’ he says. ‘I wanted to walk out of the court in disgust at the pathetic circus Kate created.’
Woodhead is due to be sentenced next month and was warned by Judge Neil Stewart that a custodial sentence was ‘almost inevitable’.
Mr Joseph is speaking out now because he’s horrified by comments made by controversial feminist Germaine Greer urging rape victims to name and shame their attackers online instead of reporting the crime to police.
Speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, Professor Greer said: ‘I wish there were an online rapists’ register and that it was kept up to date, because we know the courts can’t get it right.’
As far as Mr Joseph is concerned, the police and courts got it right in his case. In Woodhead’s case, the judge even lifted the order protecting her anonymity following her conviction.
Today, Mr Joseph can’t help but wonder if Woodhead would have given him a second glance if he hadn’t arrived at their first meeting at the rental property she was marketing driving a £70,000 Porsche convertible and wearing a Rolex watch.
Mr Joseph says: ‘At the time I thought she was attracted to me, but I think the money side of things was there from day one.
She was the one who asked me out for a drink. I’m not a flashy person, just a typical boy who likes toys and gadgets.’
'If it hadn’t been so serious, I would have laughed. I wanted to walk out of the court in disgust at the pathetic circus she created'
The pair began a relationship. In October 2007, eight months after their first date at a pub, Mr Joseph moved in with Woodhead into a £4,000-a-month rental property in Wisley, Surrey - complete with six acres of land, facilities for her five horses and a river at the bottom of the garden.
At first, everything was idyllic. But within months, the relationship became strained. Mr Joseph says he began to fear he’d made a mistake, as his new girlfriend started to show a rather more demanding, disturbing side to her personality.
The couple initially agreed to share the rent, but Mr Joseph ended up paying all of it when Woodhead said she was too depressed to continue her work as a part-time property manager.
Mr Joseph - a divorced father of two sons - also soon came to realise that Woodhead was capable of dramatic behaviour when things didn’t go her way.
‘She kept going on about setting up a riding school. When I told her I couldn’t afford it, she ran out into the field and threw herself into a puddle, crying: 'Look what you do to me',’ he says.
‘I walked back into the house. The next thing I knew, she was standing in the doorway, sobbing and panting, saying: 'Look what you do to me,' over and over again. It was at that point I started to think: 'What have I got myself into?'
‘I thought about leaving several times, but was in a Catch-22 situation. She refused to leave the property and the 18-month lease was in my name, so I’d have to go on paying £4,000 a month even if I wasn’t living there.’
The relationship limped on until April last year when Mr Joseph told Woodhead it was over.
He spent the night in a local motel before returning to their home because he had nowhere else to go. There, Woodhead begged him to give her another chance. However, Woodhead had a secret agenda.
On April 10, she went to the police to make an allegation of rape against him. The court heard she gave a ‘detailed video interview’ but was reluctant to undergo a medical examination.
Bizarrely, she swore the police to secrecy, saying she would only pursue her complaint if they promised not to approach Mr Joseph until she had sorted out her affairs - including their house.
She returned home from the police station, in ‘a friendly and jovial mood,’ acting as though nothing was wrong.
The couple made love that night and the next day she wrote in Mr Joseph’s notepad: ‘Sex was great last night.’ Strange behaviour for a woman claiming to have been raped.
Two weeks after the rape complaint, Mr Joseph’s relationship with Woodhead came to an explosive end.
On April 28, he found a text message from another man on her phone and, the court heard, a text from an escort website featuring ‘sexy photos’ of his girlfriend.
During a furious row, she fled into a field taking Mr Joseph’s two work laptops, mobile phone and briefcase. When she refused to return them, Mr Joseph called the police and had her removed from the property.
The following day, Woodhead returned, climbing through an open window while Mr Joseph was at work. When he returned at lunchtime - having been suspended for the loss of the laptop taken by Woodhead - it was to find a locksmith changing the locks.
‘I told him: "You can’t do that, this is my property." I showed him the lease agreement in my name and told him Kate had no right to change the locks,’ he says.
‘When I walked into the kitchen, I saw the keys to my Porsche, Audi and my motorbike lined up on the table. I don’t know what Kate was planning to do with them, but I grabbed them, put them in bag and went to leave.
‘She came running after me and tried to grab the bag. It went flying. My car keys fell from the bag and she stuffed them down her jodhpurs.
'Then she started doing the scariest thing - lying face down doing starfish moves on the gravel to try and injure herself. It was unbelievable.’
Mr Joseph called the police again. When they arrived, he expected her to be removed, but they arrested him because Woodhead had made a complaint of assault.
The following day she was granted an injunction preventing him from going within 100 metres of their home.
‘I left the police station at 1am thinking: "How the hell did I get into this situation?" I was liable for £4,000 a month for a property I couldn’t even live in and had nothing but the clothes I was wearing and 6p in my pocket,’ says Mr Joseph, who went to stay with a friend.
‘My wallet, passport, all my keys and my possessions were still in the house. There was a £10,000 Bang and Olufsen hi-fi, my Rolex and Breitling watches worth around £15,000, my painting collection, which was insured for £17,000, my antique desk and all my tailored suits.
‘To this day, I don’t know what she did with them. All gone. I was paying £4,000 a month for her to live in this house while I was sleeping on a bean-bag. I didn’t have a knife and fork or a towel. In the mornings, I had to dry myself on yesterday’s clothes.’
Mr Joseph then discovered Woodhead had tried to transfer ownership of his Porsche Carrera and BMW motorbike to her name, intending to sell them.
He also had to cancel his bank cards because, in happier times, he’d foolishly given Woodhead his pin number so she could draw out money when needed.
His wallet was left in the house when he was arrested and Mr Jospeh says she withdrew around £3,000.
During this time, Woodhead made 52 separate complaints to the police against Mr Joseph.
On one occasion she even claimed he’d broken into her house and left a box of Milk Tray chocolates.
He was arrested four times, but no charges were brought. Then, on May 7 last year - still unaware of the rape accusation - Mr Joseph received a call from a colleague to say police had turned up at his workplace to arrest him.
‘I drove to Staines Police Station thinking they wanted to speak to me about the alleged assault.
'When I got there, a woman police officer said: 'I’m sorry to say an allegation of rape has been made against you by your ex-partner Kate Woodhead.'
‘It was a complete shock. It was absolutely devastating. I just wasn’t expecting it. I was in such a daze that to this day I can remember nothing of the interview.
‘It was only after I was bailed and left the station that I started to piece it all together and realised the date was from the weekend we’d spent together. I looked in my pad and read the note from Kate saying: 'Sex was great last night.'
'I thought: "How the hell?" I called the police and said: "Look, I think I need to come back in because this is an open and shut case."
‘After I was arrested, I sent a text message to all Kate’s friends saying: "Kate has accused me of rape" and a group of them invited me to the pub. I was stunned by what they told me.
'Kate had told one friend that she was going to make me pay for wanting to leave her by telling the police I’d raped her and that I wouldn’t know what had hit me.’
The friend, in whom Kate Woodhead had confided her 'cry rape' plan, went to the police to give a statement saying she thought the allegations had been made up. She later appeared as a prosecution witness at Woodhead’s trial.
It was in August last year that Mr Joseph was informed that the investigation against him had been dropped and that Kate Woodhead had been arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.
‘I was ecstatic when she was charged because it had become a full-time job trying to manage Kate and all her complaints to the police,’ says Mr Joseph, who lost his job as a result of the whole episode, but is now in employment again and living more modestly in Kent.
‘I did get very depressed, but when I heard Kate had been laughing in the pub about me committing suicide, it started to make me feel angry and that gave me strength.
‘I believe she’s a conwoman. I think this was all about money from day one.
'She knew what she wanted and was prepared to do anything to get it.’