Policeman 'raped vulnerable women'

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The Independent Online

A police officer preyed on vulnerable women he met on duty and then raped them, a court heard today.

Pc Stephen Mitchell, 42, denies five counts of rape, six of indecent assault and 15 of misconduct in public office, with the alleged offences spanning a seven-year period.

The officer, from Glasgow, was based at Pilgrim Street police station in Newcastle, where he came across heroin addicts and other vulnerable women.

Paul Sloan QC, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court: "It was during the course of his duties that the defendant came into contact with each of the complainants in this case.

"As well as being known to the police, each of the complainants was a vulnerable female, whether because of drug abuse, health problems, domestic circumstances or a combination of those factors.

"The defendant took advantage of their vulnerabilities, usually providing or offering favours but then requesting or in some cases requiring by force sexual favours in return."

Mitchell joined Northumbria Police in 1998, the court heard.

A heroin addict claimed Mitchell had unprotected sex with her at her home, having got her address after she was arrested, Mr Sloan said.

The woman, now 36, was questioned at Pilgrim Street police station after she was held on suspicion of handling stolen goods.

The court heard she claims he told her he could get her bailed, but he wanted a "favour" in return.

He groped her in an interview room and, having got her address, said he would see her that night.

That evening he asked her for oral sex, which she declined, so he asked her to perform a sex act on him, which she did.

The next night he visited her Newcastle home again, and had unprotected sex with her, Mr Sloan said.

"Over the next few months, the defendant continued to frequent her home address on a regular basis and engage in sexual activity with her," he told the court.

That continued until she moved house, Mr Sloan said.