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Officer convicted over sex attacks

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A van leaves Newcastle Crown Court, where Pc Stephen Mitchell, 41, was found guilty of rape

A policeman who preyed on vulnerable women he met while on duty has been convicted of two charges of rape and three indecent assaults.

Pc Stephen Mitchell, of Northumbria Police, had denied all the charges against him, claiming the 16 women who made complaints about his behaviour were liars.

Mitchell, 42, was cleared on Friday of three counts of rape, two indecent assaults and two counts of misconduct in a public office.

But the jury at Newcastle Crown Court convicted him of five other sex offences on the fifth day of deliberations.

He was found guilty on Tuesday of six counts of misconduct in a public office but cleared of six other counts of misconduct and one of assault.

During a five-week trial, the prosecution said Mitchell, from Glasgow, preyed on heroin addicts, shoplifters and a disabled teenager by offering them help while in custody at Pilgrim Street police station in Newcastle city centre, then demanding sexual favours afterwards.

He had a hold over one woman for three and a half years, even trying to keep her on heroin after she had quit, which only ended when she went into hiding after he raped her in handcuffs at her home, it was alleged. Others were flattered then propositioned while still in custody with a view to beginning sexual relations later, the jury was told.

Mitchell claimed the women colluded against him after a rumour which he said had been made up by one claimant was picked up by others in a close-knit criminal fraternity.

Each of Wednesday’s guilty verdicts was found by a majority of ten to two jurors, after 23 hours and 23 minutes deliberation.

The Northumbria Police officer had denied all charges, claiming that the 16 women who made complaints against him were liars. In addition to the rapes and indecent assaults, Mitchell was found guilty of a six counts of misconduct in a public office. He was cleared of three counts of rape, three indecent assaults and nine counts of misconduct, following a five week trial.

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