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Fall from grace Moment Denise Cribbin was carted off to prison after making false sex assault claim

Accompanied by a friend, she walked into the station stern-faced and unsmiling - Cribbin must have wondered how a bizarre lie told in a twisted bid to dodge responsibility for a car accident had led to this.

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Denise Cribbin handing herself in to the gardaí at Stepaside and being taken to prison.

Denise Cribbin handing herself in to the gardaí at Stepaside and being taken to prison.

Denise Cribbin handing herself in to the gardaí at Stepaside and being taken to prison.

THIS is the moment equine high-flyer Denise Cribbin handed herself into the Gardaí - to finally face justice for a despicable lie in which she falsely alleged an innocent man had sexually assaulted her.

Formerly the toast of the 'horsey' set in South Dublin, Cribbin looked a shadow of her former glamorous self as she presented at Stepaside Garda Station to be taken into custody.

Earlier in the week, the 45-year-old had been given until 5pm on Friday by the Court of Appeal to hand herself in - so officers could cart her off to prison to serve a one-year stretch for her malicious falsehoods.

Leaving it almost to the last minute, despite living less than a kilometre from the station at the Paddocks on Woodstock Road, Cribbin turned herself in at 4.56pm.

Accompanied by a friend, she walked into the station stern-faced and unsmiling - Cribbin must have wondered how a bizarre lie told in a twisted bid to dodge responsibility for a car accident had led to this.

It is an astonishing fall from grace for a woman who was once feted by a broadsheet newspaper for "running" her own riding centre - and who was also celebrated for bringing the Chenet Riding Club back into the fold of the Association of Irish Riding Clubs.

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Denise Cribbin who was convicted of making a false allegation of sexual assault

Denise Cribbin who was convicted of making a false allegation of sexual assault

Denise Cribbin who was convicted of making a false allegation of sexual assault

Pictured atop a horse for a flattering Irish Times article in 2013 that described Stepaside as "a rural escape on the edge of Dublin", Cribbin told how life in the village had changed during her lifetime living there.

"When Denise Cribbin, who runs the Paddocks Riding Centre, was growing up in Stepaside, it felt very rural," the article read.

"Eight green fields separated her family's stables and the village. Now there are none, she says, adding that the population growth is bringing people into the area."

None of Cribbin's new neighbours could have known the woman espousing the joys of living in Stepaside was capable of fabricating such an egregious lie against an innocent man.

Nor could the Association of Irish Riding Clubs when, in 2019, it marked the return of Cribbin's Riding Club to the fold.

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Denise Cribbin who was convicted of making a false allegation of sexual assault. Seen here handing herself in to the gardaí at Stepaside and being taken to prison. Pic taken 11-3-2022

Denise Cribbin who was convicted of making a false allegation of sexual assault. Seen here handing herself in to the gardaí at Stepaside and being taken to prison. Pic taken 11-3-2022

Denise Cribbin who was convicted of making a false allegation of sexual assault. Seen here handing herself in to the gardaí at Stepaside and being taken to prison. Pic taken 11-3-2022

"Chenet Riding Club has renewed its affiliation with the Association of Irish Riding Clubs," the Association posted on its website.

"The Dublin club was last registered in 2014 and is based at The Paddocks Riding Centre in Sandyford. Denise Cribbin is the chairperson of the club."

But Cribbin's highlights in the horse-racing world seemed furlongs away on Tuesday as she broke down in court after being told she would be going to jail for making a false allegation of sexual assault.

The Court of Appeal was told Cribbin was originally given a two-year wholly suspended sentence after she pleaded guilty to making a false statement contrary to Section 12(a) of the Criminal Law Act 1976.

But the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) later appealed the sentence handed down by Judge Patrick Quinn at Wicklow Circuit Criminal Court on the grounds it was unduly lenient.

In a judgement delivered at the Court of Appeal, Mr Justice George Birmingham, sitting with Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy and Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly, agreed with the DPP and quashed the original sentence, imposing a one-year custodial term in its place.

As Cribbin sat weeping in the dock with her head in her hands, Mr Justice Birmingham said the offence had "crossed the threshold" and "custody was inevitable and cannot be avoided."

A request from Cribbin's counsel, Patrick Gageby SC, to give his client time to tell her frail mother who is being cared for in hospital that "her daughter won't be visiting for a while" was granted by the court.

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Denise Cribbin hands herself in to the gardaí at Stepaside

Denise Cribbin hands herself in to the gardaí at Stepaside

Denise Cribbin hands herself in to the gardaí at Stepaside

In the judgment, Mr Justice Birmingham described how the offence had arisen out of events surrounding a single-car crash which took place during the early hours of July 12, 2016, on the outskirts of the Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow.

Both Cribbin and the injured party were occupants of the car, which belonged to her and which she had been driving.

It was claimed the following evening at a meeting between the injured party and Cribbin, which was also attended by her friend and her mother, that he had sexually assaulted Cribbin prior to the accident, and this had caused the car to crash.

The injured party later informed Gardaí that Cribbin "had threatened that she was going to complain that he had sexually assaulted her."

Nine months later, in April 2017, Cribbin complained to Gardaí that the injured party had sexually assaulted her on the night in question and provided a statement.

"There were interviews with a number of witnesses, and these contradicted the respondent's statement. It became apparent to gardaí that the statement had been false," Mr Justice Birmingham noted.

In August 2018, Cribbin was arrested and interviewed in relation to the making of a false statement.

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Denise Cribbin being taken to prison

Denise Cribbin being taken to prison

Denise Cribbin being taken to prison

"At that point, she furnished a prepared statement, standing by the original complaint and refuting any suggestion that the allegation was false," the judge added.

However, the sexual assault investigation into the injured party concluded when investigating Garda received a direction from the DPP that no prosecution was to be pursued.

Cribbin pleaded guilty in July 2020 to making a false statement.

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