THERE were dramatic scenes at Worcester Crown Court as a defendant, who went on to be jailed on four counts of perverting the course of justice, collapsed in the dock.

At the beginning of Joanne Darling’s sentencing hearing on Tuesday Judge James Burbidge said he had read the medical history of the 52-year-old and said he was willing to grant an adjournment, given she was facing an immediate custodial sentence during the pandemic.

Abigail Nixon, defending Darling, said her client had already had the virus, but would speak to her about this.

After a short break, Miss Nixon said Darling was happy for the case to continue.

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Andrew Davidson, prosecuting, said Darling had told a “pack of lies and falsehoods” to police - over a five year period up to March 2018 - about her ex-partner including that he raped her, stalked her, had tried to kill her, had a gun, and lied to his employer's HR that he had slept with the employer’s wife.

While Mr Davison was prosecuting there was a sudden commotion in the dock as Darling appeared to pass out, and court staff helped her while she lay flat on the floor.

The case was adjourned and after an ambulance arrived 30 minutes after being called, paramedics treated her so that the case could resume.

During an afternoon hearing Miss Nixon said Darling was a diabetic and suffered from mental health issues, adding “it is quite clear her physical condition will make a custodial sentence difficult".

Miss Nixon added Darling, of Rochester Walk, Kidderminster, was realistic she was would face immediate custody but asked for it to be kept to the shortest length possible.

Judge Burbridge said what Darling did over a long period had been "extremely serious" and wasted police resources in Bedfordshire and Kidderminster investigating the false complaints.

He jailed Darling for 20 months, and granted a restraining order for her partner.