A KIDDERMINSTER man was picked on by a gang of three who accused him of being a rapist, followed him home and beat him up, Worcester Crown court was told.

Jailing all three, Judge Robert Juckes QC said their victim, who was punched and scratched during a 40-minute ordeal, had had all charges against him dropped.

Simeon Puckerin, 31, of Olympian Court, Kidderminster, who was described as the main attacker, was jailed for four years. He pleaded guilty to robbery.

Carol Magone, 37, of Bradley Thursfield Court, Kidderminster, who admitted assault causing actual bodily harm, was jailed for 12 months.

Her brother, Sean Magone, 40, of Silver Street, Kidderminster, pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods and was jailed for eight months.

Michael Conry, prosecuting, said Josh Holder was accosted by the three, who had been drinking, and they tracked him to his address near where Carol Magone lived.

When they went into his house, he was grabbed by Puckerin and punched to the floor. At one stage he was picked up by the throat and subjected to a rain of blows. His attackers continually demanded he should tell them what had happened about his alleged offence.

When he was taken out of the house, he was scratched in the face by Carol Magone. His attackers also took his lap-top computer, which was later found in Sean Magone's wardrobe.

Lee Egan, for Puckerin, said he had been crime free for 10 years but when his marriage broke up he had been left homeless. He went shoplifting so that he could eat. He had taken various work courses and was essentially a family man trying to better himself, said Mr Egan.

Andrew Davison submitted several references for Carol Magone and said the offence was out of character. She had once been victim of an abusive marriage, which had affected her, but she became depressed and taken to drink. She had since enrolled in Alcoholics Anonymous.

Charles Hamer, mitigating for Sean Magone, said he had a habit of stealing low-value items from stores. He had received no benefit from handling the stolen lap-top.

The judge said Mr Holder had been cut and bruised and was also suffering from affected vision. He had been so disturbed by his ordeal that he had gone back home to live with his parents.

The three had picked on him because they thought he had committed a serious sexual offence but the fact was that all charges had been dropped.