Northampton

PC Declan Gabriel cleared of sex offence charges

PC Declan Gabriel, pictured right, at Kettering Magistrates' Court for a previous hearing Image copyright PA
Image caption PC Declan Gabriel, 28, maintained his innocence of all charges throughout his trial at Northampton Crown Court.

A police officer has been cleared of raping and sexually assaulting a teenage girl while on duty.

Jurors at Northampton Crown Court found PC Declan Gabriel, 28, not guilty of rape and two connected sexual assault charges.

Prosecutors had claimed he sexually assaulted the 17-year-old twice and forced her to perform an oral sex act.

The jury was discharged from delivering a verdict on a fourth charge of misconduct in a public office.

Prosecutor Matthew Lowe had told the court PC Gabriel admitted a conversation about sex with the girl which had made him aroused.

However, PC Gabriel gave evidence saying the teenager sexually assaulted him, but he had been too "scared and embarrassed" to report it.

His barrister, Steven Evans, also told the court the girl's evidence contained "several demonstrable lies".

The prosecution has 14 days to consider whether to seek a re-trial on the misconduct charge.

Ch Supt Mick Stamper, from Northamptonshire Police, said the force accepted the verdict.

"We will now discuss the outcome of this process with the Crown Prosecution Service to determine the next course of action," he added.

"The court process is still ongoing and it would be inappropriate for us to comment further."

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