A FATHER who was wrongly accused of rape has told how the claims tore his life apart.
Plasterer Terry Brown, 34, has struggled to find work since his 2014 court case, forcing him and his pregnant partner Tracey Choularton to live in a tent.
He is verbally abused daily, and fears for his life.
After being cleared of rape, Mr Brown's accuser, Lisa-Jayne Samuels, admitted making the attack up.
She was sentenced to 20 months in prison for perverting the course of justice.
Speaking a year after Samuels was jailed, Mr Brown said: "Life was a lot better before the allegation, I had a future.
“Now I can’t go to the shops without someone calling me a rapist. Even old respectable looking gentleman walking their dogs call me a rapist.
“Because I don’t work and can’t get housed we are forced to live in a tent, which is always getting destroyed. Rocks were thrown at us last month.”
Mr Brown believed his life would return to normal after his name was cleared, but the abuse has continued. It has led him to self-harm, and he admits he has had suicidal thoughts.
Mr Brown also fears for the future of his partner, who stuck by him throughout the rape trial, and their unborn baby.
He said: “My name was cleared in the court, but I am still treated like I committed that terrible crime. “When people shout horrible things at me on the street it makes me feel incredibly low, and I don’t know where to turn.
“I worry for my beautiful partner and our unborn baby.
“It does make me feel suicidal and I have self-harmed since the abuse.
“I thought I could get my life back after the allegation, but I can’t.” Last month, rocks were thrown at his tent while he and Miss Choularton slept at the Holy Cross Park, off Church Road, Basildon.
Since then, intruders defecated inside the tent and on his belongings, forcing the couple to sleep beneath sheets and under bushes.
Estranged from family and friends, including his two children from previous relationships, Mr Brown will not celebrate his birthday this month, something he would often look forward to before the false rape allegation.
He said he survives by garnering fresh food from supermarket skips, which gives him and Miss Choularton enough energy to get through the day.
Last year, Terry Brown suffered a severe beating at the hands of masked men. The stress caused by the false rape allegations also saw his partner Tracey Choularton lose their unborn child.
Mr Brown was arrested on suspicion of rape in front of his friends in June 2013, and spent months on police bail before being cleared of any wrongdoing.
When interviewed, she gave a detailed description of her attacker, claiming she had been drinking with friends at the Last Post, in Southend town centre, where she met a man she knew from a night shelter who spiked her drink and attacked her.
An e-fit was drawn up and Mr Brown, from Basildon, was arrested the following year.
He was later released without charge after police uncovered inconsistencies in Lisa-Jayne Samuels’s story. During a voluntary interview with Samuels on December 6, 2013, she eventually admitted to making up the whole story to try to reconcile with her mother.
Mr Brown and Miss Choularton launched a heartfelt plea to Basildon Council to help find them a home.
The couple, who recently discovered Miss Choularton was pregnant, claimed they have struggled getting help from Basildon Council because they could not supply proof she was bearing a child.
Being of no fixed abode previously meant they were unable to get a confirmation letter from a health centre to show to the council, Mr Brown claimed. But after a visit to a health centre last weekend they have provided the council with the required documents.
A Basildon Council spokesperson said: “St Mungo’s have been assisting the couple to look for housing solutions.
“Following Basildon Council receiving notification today that they are expecting a child, the council will be looking into options to resolve their homelessness.”
Mr Brown is hopeful they will be homed soon and those who continue to abuse them will finally understand Mr Brown is innocent.
He said: “To go through all of this has taken its toll and I hope we’re homed soon.
“If we are, then I hope the cycle doesn’t repeat itself and the abuse stops, otherwise we may be forced to move away."