Page last updated at 16:58 GMT, Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Police officer admits sex attack

David Roythorne
The former officer blamed "locker-room banter" for his behaviour

A retired police sergeant has been placed on the sex offenders register after sexually assaulting a former colleague.

David Roythorne, 52, the former head of Northumbria Police's mounted section, was also given a 12-month conditional discharge at Newcastle Crown Court.

Roythorne, who retired from the police in May 2007, admitted a charge of sexual assault.

Three more charges of sexual assault and indecent assault remain on file.

In June 2007 Roythorne, of West Moor, North Tyneside, was cleared of seven counts of indecent assault and one of assault.

But a jury failed to reach verdicts on five other charges of indecent and sexual assault and a re-trial was ordered.

He admitted the sexual assault at the beginning of the re-trial.

During his original trial, Roythorne, who retired after 30 years' service in the force, said the allegations were false or just part of the "locker-room culture" of the force.

Personal courage

He was originally charged in August 2007 following an Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation (IPCC).

The investigation examined allegations about his behaviour towards fellow police officers and civilian staff between July 2001 and September 2006.

After the hearing on Wednesday, IPCC Commissioner Nicholas Long said: "David Roythorne believed his behaviour towards the staff was simply locker-room banter, but our investigation concluded it was bullying and harassment of the worst kind.

"He exerted his authority through fear and intimidation.

"I would like to commend the personal courage of the complainants who came forward.

"I hope they can take some comfort from the fact that Roythorne has acknowledged finally that his actions were unacceptable."

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