A NORTHUMBRIA Police officer has strenuously denied claims of raping vulnerable women, a court heard yesterday.
PC Stephen Mitchell was said to have offered favours to women in police custody in return for sexual favours, but he told the jury at Newcastle Crown Court there was no truth in the allegations.
The court also heard how Mitchell, who used to live in Whitley Bay, was mourning his murdered father in Scotland at the time of one of the alleged assaults.
One woman, who could not be named for legal reasons, claimed Mitchell assaulted her in a car parked in a field at Burdon, near Sunderland, on August 13 2001, but the defendant said this could not be true as he was at home in Glasgow on this date.
Toby Hedworth QC, defending, asked Mitchell: “Have you ever been with her in the fields in the Burdon area of Sunderland?”
Mitchell, who left the Army in 1991 to join the police force, said: “No, I haven’t.” He added: “My dad was attacked on July 30, 2001 by somebody and subsequently died on August 10, 2001. And from the 9th to the 16th of August I was in Glasgow.”
Mitchell, based at the Pilgrim Street station in Newcastle, denies five charges of rape, six of indecent assault and 15 of misconduct in public office. They relate to 16 women and cover a period of seven years.
Mr Hedworth led Mitchell through the list of allegations to which he denied all accounts, and when asked by his barrister if there was suggestion of him acting in a sexually inappropriate manner with any of the women. He replied: “No, none whatsoever.”
Earlier prosecutors claimed each alleged victim was vulnerable through drug abuse, health problems or a combination of both.
Mitchell told the court that he often acted in a friendly manner with some of the women and tried to encourage them that they could make a better life for themselves, but said it never went further than that.
It was also revealed that Mitchell was subject to a Northumbria Police conduct hearing in September 2007 where he failed to meet the standards of a police officer after it was discovered he had sex with a woman who he had met earlier while on duty.
The trial, which is now entering its fourth week, continues.