A taxi driver turned detective to clear his name after a mum accused him of assaulting her two-year-old son.
Aamer Shahzad, 31, feared he could be sent to prison and lose his licence after being quizzed by police over the allegations that he slapped the youngster for jumping on his car seats.
The case against him was eventually dropped thanks to CCTV footage he obtained after contacting a shop owner in Normanton, near Wakefield.
The pictures revealed the toddler’s mother smacking her son across his legs shortly after Mr Shahzad had dropped them off.
The woman, in her 20s, later admitting making up the story against Mr Shahzad after panicking when she realised she had left red marks on his legs and feared she would get into trouble.
The mum, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted assault and perverting justice on July 25. She was given a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and made the subject of a supervision order for two years.
Passing sentence at Leeds Crown Court, recorder Simon Jackson said: “You set out over two pages the details of your allegation against this taxi driver.
“That was an outrageous allegation to make against an identified individual which led to serious consequences.”
He added: “One has only to consider or speculate as to what might have been the consequences for this unfortunate taxi driver Mr Shahzad if he had not got the good sense and determination to pursue an inquiry at the local supermarket and obtain evidence which may never have been available but for his diligence, which revealed the assailant in this case was the defendant and not Mr Shahzad.
“Had that not been available, I am satisfied this defendant would have persisted in her complaint and the evidence may have been believed and this would have led to a serious charge against this wholly innocent man, with perhaps a miscarriage of justice following. It was very fortunate that was not the outcome.”
After the hearing, Mr Shahzad, 31, a driver for Normanton-based Local Cars, told the YEP he was off work for two days with stress and worry over the false claim.
He said: “I was shocked that she could say that about me. I was stressed out when the police twice called me in for interviews. I could have lost my job and my taxi driver’s licence.
“She didn’t complain about anything during the journey, she just paid her fare and got out.”
He added: “When the truth came out I was relieved. I didn’t understand what she had against me. All I did was pick her up and drop her off. If I hadn’t got the CCTV footage my livelihood could have been ruined.
“She can’t be a good person, doing what she did.”
Mr Shahzad’s boss, Wasim Ramzan, said: “I’ve never had any complaints about him, he’s a good worker.
“I can’t understand why she did it, to blame a person she doesn’t even know.
“She was just looking for an easy way out for herself.”
Jonathan Wilkinson, for the woman, said she lost her temper and hit the youngster after he bit her finger.