Sex-on-duty policeman jailed

A married policeman who had sex with a woman while he was on duty was jailed for 12 months today.

Pc Nicholas Stone, 40, was told by a judge that as a serving police officer he had abused the public's trust placed in him.

A jury at Exeter Crown Court convicted him last week of misconduct in public office but acquitted him of rape and two other charges of misconduct in public office.

Stone, of The Old Post Office, Pitminster, Somerset, had denied all four charges.

Jailing Stone for 12 months, Judge Graham Cottle, The Recorder of Exeter, said that he regarded the victim's evidence in court as "accurate and truthful".

"A police officer in a small community enjoys a position of considerable power," he told Stone.

"It is a position that generally means the respect of the public is also enjoyed.

"Power can be abused and this case is a story of an extremely unattractive abuse of power.

"You used the power that your status gave you to take advantage of a vulnerable young woman and when things became difficult for you, entirely of your own making, your behaviour towards her became extremely unpleasant.

"She complained to your superiors who dealt with it in a highly inappropriate and shameful way.

"When a police officer like you is in serious breach of his duty the trust the community has in the police is damaged.

"I give credit for the mitigation that has been advanced on your behalf and that you and others close to you will be affected by this case."

"However, the public would expect the sentence to reflect the views I have expressed."

Stone had sex with the woman while on duty in Tiverton, Devon, in 1999, having met her when he arrested a close relative of hers.

At the time he was serving with Devon and Cornwall Police but in the summer of 2001 transferred to the Avon and Somerset force.

She gave evidence to the court that Stone, in uniform, had followed her home in his patrol car on a different occasion, warned he was going to give her a ticket and then instead began kissing her.

She said they had sex and then his radio "intercepted" and he had to return to work.

He was cleared of angrily confronting her and grabbing her while on patrol on another occasion, and warning one of her friends that they would be arrested if they did not step aside to let him talk to her on another occasion.

The prosecution claimed he had become "obsessive and possessive" over her.

It was also alleged that Stone raped the woman in a deserted yard, while off duty, after seeing her walking through the town at night in 2001.

Stone said he had a consensual sexual relationship with her, which was always off duty, and he never confronted her or abused his position to pursue her.

He said the alleged rape was consensual sex, which she initiated, and their sexual relationship continued occasionally after that.