Policeman walks free after sex act with victim

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The Independent Online

A police officer walked free from court today after he admitted engaging in sexual activity with a victim of domestic violence he was sent to help.

Pc James Formby, 31, was given a 20-week sentence, suspended for two years, after he admitted misconduct in a public office.

Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith told Formby the incident in Bromley, south east London, in the early hours of September 19 last year "inevitably means the end of your police career".

The judge told Southwark Crown Court in London the 33-year-old woman, who had been drinking and had taken the legal drug BZP, was clearly "vulnerable".

"Your duty as a police officer was to treat her professionally," he told Formby.

"Instead you both began flirting. There were at least four separate occasions when you should have stopped the situation developing any further."

Michael Mulkerrins, prosecuting, told the court Formby was one of at least four officers who attended the victim's house following a report of domestic abuse.

While other officers took the woman's boyfriend away, Formby remained in the house with the woman to take her statement.

But the pair began flirting and the woman sat close to the officer in her living room, resting her head on his knee.

He told her she looked "sexy" in tight grey leggings and commented how she would look nice in high heels.

Her boyfriend's collection of various uniforms used in his job as a male stripper were on the floor in the living room, which "heightened the sexual tension between them", Mr Mulkerrins said.

Formby also walked in on the woman while she was in the bathroom, the court heard.

She then returned to the living room before inviting Formby to her bedroom and began kissing him. She then engaged in the sex act, the court heard.

But Formby was caught when the woman rang police a few hours later to ask about her boyfriend's arrest and mentioned the sex act to police.

The link between the two was confirmed when Formby sent her a text saying: "That was nice. Shall we do that again?"

In mitigation, Richard Atchley said Formby "realises he's been very foolish and he could have, and should have, left the house".