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Jury out again on PC accused of sex attacks

A jury was sent out today to consider verdicts for a third day in the case of a police officer accused of raping and sexually assaulting vulnerable women.

Pc Stephen Mitchell, 42, of Northumbria Police, denies five counts of rape, six indecent assaults and 15 counts of misconduct in a public office, claiming that the 16 women who made complaints against him were liars.

During a five-week trial at Newcastle Crown Court, the prosecution said Mitchell preyed on heroin addicts, shoplifters and a disabled teenager by offering them help while in custody at Pilgrim Street Police Station in Newcastle city centre, then demanding sexual favours afterwards.

He had a hold over one woman for three and a half years, even trying to keep her on heroin after she had quit, which only ended when she went into hiding after he raped her in handcuffs at her home, the court heard.

Others were flattered then propositioned while still in custody with a view to beginning sexual relations later, the jury heard.

Mitchell claimed the women colluded against him after a rumour which he said had been made up by one claimant was picked up by others in a close-knit criminal fraternity.

The officer, from Glasgow, claimed: "These people will grab any opportunity they can."