England

Newcastle policeman 'raped women he met on duty'

Pc Stephen Mitchell - photo courtesy of Mark Blacklock, Marxmedia
Image caption Mr Mitchell is alleged to have preyed on women he met while on duty

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

Pc Stephen Mitchell, 42, denies five counts of rape, six of indecent assault and 15 of misconduct in public office.

The policeman, of Glasgow, was based in Newcastle, where he offered "favours" to heroin addicts and vulnerable women in return for sex, jurors heard.

One addict said he forced her to have sex in return for getting her bail in a handling stolen goods case.

The offences are alleged to have taken place between 1999 and 2006, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

On the first day of Mr Mitchell's trial, Paul Sloan QC, prosecuting, said: "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."

Unprotected sex

The court heard that the heroin addict alleged Mr Mitchell had unprotected sex with her at her home after she had been questioned at Pilgrim Street police station in Newcastle on suspicion of handling stolen goods.

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."

The charges relate to 16 complainants Mr Mitchell met in the line of duty, the hearing heard.

Mr Sloan said Mr Mitchell, who joined Northumbria Police in 1998, also repeatedly raped a heroin addict who asked him to help her get back her children from care.

The woman, now in her 30s from North Tyneside, said he gave her heroin when he picked her up in his car and even gave her money to buy foil and a lighter from a shop so she could take it.

The trial continues.

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