Page last updated at 14:24 GMT, Wednesday, 8 July 2009 15:24 UK

Sex on duty officer spared jail

A Metropolitan Police officer who had sex with a vulnerable woman while supposedly checking on her welfare has avoided going to jail.

Det Con John Richmond, 53, visited the 45-year-old at home a day after she discharged herself from hospital following a drug overdose in December.

The officer, from Amersham in Buckinghamshire, pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office.

He was given a nine month jail term, suspended for one year.

He was flattered, sexually aroused and ceased to consider either her welfare or indeed his own position
Defence barrister Bridget Petherbridge

Southwark Crown Court heard that shortly after the brief liaison she reported the officer, who worked for the missing persons unit at Kilburn police station in north-west London.

He was then charged in December after an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Prosecutor Paul Cavin said Richmond went alone to the woman's house on 6 May last year, and later that day she called 999 to make a formal complaint.

Defence barrister Bridget Petherbridge said: "He was flattered, sexually aroused and ceased to consider either her welfare or indeed his own position.

"He has lost his career. He is currently suspended from duty and it is accepted that he will eventually lose his role in the Metropolitan Police."

Public confidence

After mitigation, Mr Cavin said: "May I just emphasise that the Crown has never accepted that it was the complainant who initiated the sexual intercourse."

Passing sentence, Judge Gregory Stone said: "Such behaviour damages public confidence in the police service and is a breach of the protection which the public are entitled to have when dealing with the police.

"In my judgment the offence is so serious that I must impose a custodial sentence. But in this case the mitigation allows me to suspend the sentence."

Richmond had admitted the charge at an earlier hearing.

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