New Zealander Sentenced for False Claim of Wombat Rape

Beware the wombat (image: JJ Harrison via Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Arthur Cradock of Motueka, New Zealand, was sentenced last week to 75 hours of community service for making a false police report, after he admitted he had not actually been raped by a wombat as he had claimed. Cradock called police on February 11 to report the assault, but called back later to say he did not need help after all.

“Apart from speaking Australian now, I’m pretty all right, you know,” he said in the second call.

Despite this disclaimer, Cradock was still charged for the false report, which in New Zealand appears to be technically termed “using a phone for a fictitious purpose.”

Wombats are not fictional, of course, although so far as I can tell there is no recorded incident of one raping a human. Wikipedia refers to them as “crepuscular,” and at first I thought that might be related but it turns out to mean “mainly active during twilight.” The plot thickened, though, under the heading “Wombats and Humans.” The article noted that wombats are “sexually mature at 18 months of age,” that their “lack of fear means that they may display acts of aggression,” and that their “sheer weight makes a charging wombat capable of knocking an average-sized man over.” The article also linked to a description of a wombat attack on a young boy in 2001.

So, while wombats have assaulted humans, and apparently prefer young boys and average-sized men, Cradock’s story is at least unlikely given that the marsupials are not native to New Zealand.

Also undermining his claim is the statement by Sergeant Chris Stringer, who told the court that alcohol “played a large role in Cradock’s life.”