Police officer and wife acquitted of sex charges

A police officer and his wife were today found not guilty of sexually assaulting a woman after the prosecution offered no evidence against them.









Sgt Nicholas Clarke and Joanne Clarke had been due to stand trial at Hereford Crown Court charged with assaulting the woman in Worcestershire in June 2009.



But Sgt Clarke was formally acquitted of rape and his wife of sexual assault after the Crown accepted that recent inquiries into a text message sent on the complainant's mobile phone meant there was no reasonable prospect of convictions.



Mrs Clarke, a civilian police worker, pleaded guilty last February to supplying and possessing cannabis during a party at the couple's home in Rednal, Worcestershire, on June 26 last year.



Judge Toby Hooper QC, sentenced Clarke to a conditional discharge after hearing that her life had been "turned upside down" by the allegations against her.



Explaining the decision not to proceed with the allegation of rape and sexual assault, prosecutor Jonas Hankin said he had been made aware at the end of last week of further inquiries made into the complainant's handset and SIM card.



Mr Hankin added: "The result of that was that I was then in a position to put into context a text message sent by the complainant shortly after waking on the morning in question.



"It became clear to me that there was no longer any reasonable prospect of a conviction."



The defendants, both aged 49 and of Beacon Hill, Rednal, were charged in October 2009 after an investigation by West Mercia Police.



Outlining the facts in relation to the drugs offences committed by Mrs Clarke, Mr Hankin said she had supplied an amount of cannabis sufficient to make one spliff and had also stored a quantity of the drug worth around £200 on top of a wardrobe at her home.



Christopher Johnston, defending Mrs Clarke, told the court that a man attending the party had in fact rolled the spliff that she admitted supplying.



Mr Johnston said: "Had it not been for the other allegations in this case, it could well have been that the discovery of the cannabis could have been dealt with by a warning.



"Mrs Clarke has suffered a devastating experience over the last 16 months or so."



Passing sentence on Mrs Clarke, Judge Hooper told her: "Had it not been for the circumstances in which you were in fact arrested, it is clear to me ... that you would very probably have been subject to some penalty short of arrest and proceedings.



"You would very probably have been subjected to a warning or a caution."



Mr and Mrs Clarke are both understood to be suspended from their posts with the West Midlands force. Both left the court without comment.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea