Married policeman faces jail for sexually assaulting women while on duty


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The Independent Online

A married police constable has been warned he faces jail after he sexually assaulted women while he was on duty.

Matthew Daniel Fisher, 37, was found guilty of abusing two women he was supposed to be helping when he served with North Yorkshire Police.

He also admitted two misconduct in a public office charges after having sexual contact in a police van outside Selby bus station and having sexual contact with a woman who was on a night out.

Following today's verdict, North Yorkshire Police's temporary chief constable said Fisher "has brought disgrace on the office of constable" by abusing his authority for his own gratification.

During Fisher's trial at Hull Crown Court, jurors heard the twice-married officer would meet women while he was on patrol in the Selby area and flirt with them, often offering his sexual services in their own homes.

Some of the sexual contact was consensual, Simon Waley, prosecuting, told the court, while other acts were not.

One of his victims was dependent on heroin and Pc Fisher had gone to a shared flat where she had been drinking to ask her to turn down music, the jury heard during the trial.

He took her home in his police van and grabbed her hand, placing it on his groin, but she swore and pulled her hand away.

However, Fisher asked her to remain silent about the incident, as he was engaged, Mr Waley added.

Another victim met him after police received reports of a minor incident. Jurors heard how, after going round to her home, Fisher made sexual comments and looked down her top.

On another occasion he grabbed her hand, placing it on his groin.

Fisher was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault against the two women and one misconduct charge relating to using a police computer to look up details of women.

He was found not guilty of two further counts - the attempted rape and sexual assault of a woman who he was called to help after she reported being assaulted by her partner.

Ordering Fisher to be held in custody until he was sentenced, Judge Michael Mettyear told the defendant he could have expected a jail term of five or six years if he was found guilty of all charges.

He said his sentence would not be so severe due to the jury acquitting him of two counts, but added: "As it is, for matters which you have been found guilty and matters you've pleaded guilty to are so serious only custody can be justified."

He told Fisher to sign the sex offenders' register and said even though he did not consider him a danger to children, he will be banned from working with them.

After the verdict, North Yorkshire Police Temporary Chief Constable Tim Madgwick said: "Daniel Fisher has brought disgrace on the office of constable.

"He abused his position of authority for the sake of his own gratification. This behaviour is completely unacceptable and I congratulate the investigation team who secured the convictions.

"On behalf of the force, I commend the victims for having the courage to come forward and report the incidents. We fully understand how challenging this must have been. I hope they can now start to rebuild their lives."

Mr Madgwick said he was satisfied that this was an isolated case and Fisher was dealt with professionally and robustly.

He added: "Residents can be reassured that North Yorkshire Police and the police and crime commissioner have the necessary safeguards in place to root out police officers and members of police staff whose conduct or behaviour falls short of the very high standards demanded by the force.

"Daniel Fisher will be brought before a disciplinary hearing at the earliest opportunity at which sanctions include dismissal without notice."

Fisher has offered his resignation to the force and has been suspended throughout the investigation and court proceedings.

Officers who investigated the case said Fisher's "unforgivable" conduct and his subsequent conviction "sends out a clear message that nobody is above the law".

Detective Superintendent Heather Pearson, the senior investigating officer in the case, said: "At the time of his offending, Daniel Fisher was in a privileged position performing the role of a police officer. He has abused his authority and has offended against the very people he had a sworn duty to protect. This is unforgivable.

"His actions undermine all the hard work and commitment to victims of crime and the public that North Yorkshire Police officers and staff conduct on a daily basis.

"On behalf of the investigation team, I want to thank and pay tribute to the victims and witnesses who have displayed a great deal of bravery and faith in the police service, particularly due to the circumstances in this case.

"Not only have they suffered the traumatic experiences that Fisher put them through, he has made them re-live their ordeals during the trial.

"I just hope the outcome at court will provide a measure of comfort and closure as they move forward."

Fisher will return to Hull Crown Court for sentencing on 3 May.