The woman told police she had been raped in the Högaholm area of Malmö late at night in December, with her claims leading police to suspect more than one perpetrator had been involved.
But on Tuesday police said they had dropped the investigation. In a statement they revealed that the forensic probe and witness statements had been unable to corroborate the woman's story.
“When the woman during questioning was confronted with this, she admitted that she had given false and incorrect information to the police. The woman said she had not been raped at the time in question. The probe has also shown that rape did not take place,” said prosecutor Lena Körner.
The woman is now suspected of raising false alarm, but police declined to say why she had lied.
“Forensic evidence and her own story led to this. We are completely convinced that this did not happen,” Mats Karlsson, deputy police chief in Malmö, told regional newspaper Sydsvenskan.
“We had been looking for witnesses and forensic evidence but were seeing more and more signs that things weren't right. After a number of interrogations the woman confessed,” said Karlsson.
He added that false claims of a similar nature are rare: “It is important to stress that we trust those who report crimes, otherwise we would not be able to take the right investigative measures.”
The woman's claims came after a string of reported rapes in Malmö which followed a similar pattern – a victim attacked outside by more than one person. Police did not suspect any links, but the spate of incidents prompted them to call in a national group specializing in criminal profiling.
The other three incidents reported at the end of last year are still under investigation.
Reported rapes increased in Sweden by ten percent last year, according to preliminary crime statistics. However the number of reports decreased in Malmö to 209 reported incidents over the course of 2017.
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