Police officer jailed for working as £100-an-hour call girl

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The Independent Online

A police constable-turned-call girl was jailed for 15 months.

Victoria Thorne, 29, lived a double life as a uniformed Northumbria Police officer while moonlighting as a £100-an-hour prostitute, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Judge John Evans told her: "It is plain that those who thought they knew you, and knew you well, are at a loss as to how you came to be involved in such a seedy world."

When she was arrested at work, Thorne could only exclaim: "F****** hell", Caroline Goodwin, prosecuting, said.

The former officer, sitting in the dock with five other defendants, smirked as the detail came to light.

But she did not laugh when she was led away after being sentenced yesterday.

Thorne advertised her services on the Notorious Girls website, using the name Kelly, and initially did not tell anyone she was a police officer.

But she was later recruited to make inquiries on the police computer system on behalf of her pimp, the court heard.

Miss Goodwin said: "She should have had a bright and promising future but she chose to breach the trust that had been placed in her as a police constable and she was effectively leading a double life."

She added: "She was corrupted, and allowed herself to be corrupted."

Thorne's barrister, John Elvidge, said: "She, by her great folly, has lost everything, including her reputation.

"Financial pressure was the catalyst."

But Judge Evans said another motive was indicated in his sentencing remarks, saying Thorne became a prostitute for the money, but also "you saw it as a means of providing interesting social opportunities".

The judge said Thorne will serve half of her 15-month sentence behind bars, less the 161 days she has spent on remand since she admitted misconduct in a public office.

She joined Northumbria Police in 2002, and four years later became a prostitute, initially for another escort agency.

She then approached Neil Lock, 28, of Galashiels in the Scottish Borders, and began working for him.

It was at his request that she accessed the police computer for information about him, including his Maserati sports car.

She also made computer checks on other prostitutes for him, and on his rivals.

Lock was jailed for four years today for running brothels, managing prostitutes, and aiding and abetting Thorne's misconduct.

Outside court, Detective Inspector Andy Jones, of the Counter Corruption Unit, said: "The overwhelming majority of Northumbria Police officers and staff behave with great integrity and professionalism.

"However, the small number of staff who do not behave in this way can have the potential to compromise both the operations and reputation of the force and their honest and professional colleagues.

"The public should have real confidence in Northumbria Police's Counter Corruption Unit which has robust systems in place to take action if it is suspected that those standards are not being maintained.

"In this case Vicky Thorne showed complete disregard for both the law and our own high standards and paid the price through the loss of her career and freedom."

A colleague became concerned about Thorne after overhearing a phone call at work in which she said: "I just can't check today," the court heard.

It lead to an investigation which spanned across the North East and to Greater Manchester, and into the activities of Neil Lock.

Investigators found he and wife Natalie, also 28, were running a widescale operation, involving houses across Newcastle, Sunderland, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough, being run as brothels.

The couple ran the Notorious Girls escort website, which included photos of their prostitutes, their services, prices and activities.

They took 30% of the sex workers' costs for arranging their meetings with clients.

The court heard Thorne, from Washington, Tyne and Wear, had one regular client whom she saw at the Ramside Hall Hotel, near Durham, as well as a Holiday Inn.

She would not see customers from Wearside however, because that was where she was working as a police officer.

Natalie Lock, who is the mother of Neil Lock's two children aged eight and 10, has split from her husband and now lives in Devon, nearer her family, the court heard.

She was given a 51-week suspended jail sentence after admitting managing prostitutes and brothels, and perverting the course of justice.

The Locks also ran NG House, a three-storey brothel in Bury, which the court heard Greater Manchester Police tolerated.

It was run by Neil Lock's 60-year-old father Nigel.

Also involved were Alan Bartle, 53, of Winlaton, Gateshead, and Osher Marks, 57, of Ravenscourt Place, Gateshead.

All three previously admitted charges relating to running brothels. Nigel Lock, of Bolton, was fined £415; Marks was fined £765 and Bartle £515.

Thorne was kept separate in the dock from the others by four security staff.

Neil Lock also admitted possessing class A drugs and an unlicensed firearm.

The court heard all the defendants except Thorne will face Proceeds of Crime Act hearings later.