Fantasist who lied that six men he met on dating app Grindr raped him faces years in prison as he’s convicted

A fantasus who lied that six men he met on the dating app Grindr raped him has been found guilty and faces years in prison.

Liam Smith, 27, made false and damaging claims which caused ‘horrific suffering and anguish’ to the victims, some of whom he met on a dating app.

Several of his victims were arrested and had to go through extensive forensic tests by the police despite having done nothing wrong.

Smith has now been found guilty by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court of seven counts of acts tending or intending to pervert the course of justice in relation to events which took place in various locations including Newcastle, South Tyneside and Sunderland.

Judge Penny Moreland remanded him in custody and told him: ‘I will sentence you for the offenses of which the jury found you guilty on March 22. You know the inevitable sentence is one of immediate detention and I will remand you until the date of sentencing.’

Anne Richardson, prosecuting, told the court during the trial: ‘The Crown’s case is that this defendant made a number of rape allegations against several men, all of which were false and therefore he lied to the police and made a chain of began investigations which were not only unnecessary and time-consuming, but caused appalling suffering and anguish to those innocent men accused by him.

Liam Smith outside court on Monday.  Smith, 27, made false and damaging claims which caused 'horrendous suffering and anguish' to the victims, some of whom he met on a dating app.

Liam Smith outside court on Monday. Smith, 27, made false and damaging claims which caused ‘horrendous suffering and anguish’ to the victims, some of whom he met on a dating app.

‘You will hear that the defendant was originally named James Robertson and some of the witnesses refer to him as James Smith. It may not matter what he was called, this is not a case in which mistaken identity is raised as a defense.

‘The defendant claims that all but one of the allegations of sexual assault he made are true.

‘The defendant’s case on that allegation is that although he made a complaint in the good faith belief that it was true, he now realizes that it was in fact not true, and suspects that it was part of a flashback during ‘ a period of post-traumatic stress disorder from which he suffers.

‘The indictment contains seven counts or counts, all alleging the same offense – the doing of an act tending or intended to pervert the course of public justice.

“The Crown submits that making allegations of a sexual nature is such a serious matter, given the damage to one’s reputation and family life, that, if those allegations are false, the repercussions and consequences are profound.”

In 2018, Smith reported to the police that he had been raped by a male stranger in a public sauna.

In fact, further investigations by the police revealed that they were known to each other, having chatted over a dating website called Grindr.

They ended up in a steam room together, where consensual sexual activity took place, but they parted on bad terms because Smith wanted to spend the night in a hotel and the other man did not.

Miss Richardson said: ‘The latter went home in a taxi but not before the defendant smashed the taxi window in a rage.

‘This was reported to the police by the taxi driver and the police in turn contacted (the man). A few minutes after this, the accused called 999 and reported that he had been raped by a stranger.’

The man had only been at home for a few hours when the police arrived and he was arrested for rape, when he told officers: ‘But we haven’t even had sex yet’.

Miss Richardson said: ‘His mobile phone was taken from him and he was placed in a police cell, after his photograph and fingerprints were taken.’

Prosecutors say the man suffered from a medical condition that meant he could not have done what was alleged at the time.

Smith later withdrew support for the prosecution in a retraction statement, saying the allegation was true but that he did not want the matter to be investigated further and the man was told he faced no further action.

Smith reported another rape complaint to the police in 2018 about another man. Miss Richardson said: ‘He told the police that (the man) pinned him to a bed and raped him, despite the defendant repeatedly asking him to stop.’

The man was interviewed as a voluntary bystander and denied rape and Smith later retracted the allegation citing his mental health.

Smith and a third alleged victim then began messaging on Grindr. Smith claimed in 2019 that he continued to rape him.

The man was interviewed by the police and described consensual sex. Smith later retracted the claim.

Liam Smith outside court on Monday.  Smith has now been found guilty by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court of seven counts of acts tending or intended to pervert the course of justice.

Liam Smith outside court on Monday. Smith has now been found guilty by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court of seven counts of acts tending or intended to pervert the course of justice.

In 2020, Smith continued to call 999 and reported another man had raped him, claiming he had brandished a knife during the attack. The man was arrested and questioned by the police and denied the allegation.

Prosecutors say Smith made another allegation against the same man later that year.

Miss Richardson said: ‘He was arrested on suspicion of raping the accused and was held for 14 hours with intimate and non-intimate samples taken.

‘He gave an alibi that he was with his boyfriend at all relevant times.. In relation to an alleged meeting at (a cafe) he pointed out that it was closed and had been for a number of days as a result of Covid restrictions.’

The boyfriend confirmed the alibi and the coffee shop owner confirmed what the man said.

Smith then went on to admit it was a fiction, claiming he was delusional causing flashbacks to the earlier alleged rape.

In relation to another man, Smith made an allegation of rape in 2020. The man was arrested and questioned and was held overnight for about eight hours and forensic samples were taken from him.

Smith later retracted the charge, although he maintained that his allegation was true.

Towards the end of 2020, Smith was interviewed about perverting the course of justice, abusing the 999 system and wasting police time. He made no comment throughout and was released pending further investigation.

At the start of 2021, while still under investigation, Smith made a 999 call saying he had been raped by a sixth man. As a result, that man was arrested and detained for more than ten hours with swabs taken from him.

Miss Richardson said: ‘While the man was still in custody, police examined his phone and found that Grindr messages had been exchanged between him and the accused.

‘However, before they could be saved via screenshots, and in front of the officer’s eyes, these messages disappeared.

‘Since the man was still in custody with no access to a phone or any electronic device, the Crown argues that you can infer that the defendant deleted them from his own device – probably by blocking the man who the messages at both ends must be deleted.’

Smith, of Armley Ridge Road, Leeds, was interviewed again in March 2022 and made no comment. Miss Richardson said: ‘As I have indicated, the defense submits that apart from the second allegation of rape in respect of (the fourth alleged victim), which was the result of a traumatic flashback, all the other allegations of sexual offenses made by the defendant are true, and he is a very unfortunate man to be accused of falsifying such claims.

“The Crown submits that here is a very troubled young man, who must essentially have real trouble sifting the wheat from the chaff, fact from fiction, and that, for whatever reason, perhaps his latent desire for attention , perhaps because he is a fantasist , he caused these six men to be arrested, interrogated, detained and subjected to intrusive police investigation, causing them to undergo enormous anguish and embarrassment, when in fact they are innocent men, who did nothing more than engage in legal, sexual activity with a fully consenting man. That’s for you to decide.’