Pc jailed for 'flirtatious and sexual' relationship with domestic abuse complainant

A police officer who pursued a "flirtatious and sexual" relationship with a vulnerable woman during his duties has been jailed for five months.

Pc James Ankrett
Pc James Ankrett

Pc James Ankrett, who was sacked by West Midlands Police last week, was called out to the victim's property in early July 2017 after a 999 call was made.

It was recorded by police as a domestic incident which involved no physical violence and nobody wished to take it any further, a court heard.

Wolverhampton Crown Court heard how the woman was left in an "emotional" state, had been crying and was left "embarrassed" by the situation.

Andrew Wallace, prosecuting, said a neighbour had recalled seeing the officer who was "sitting very close" to the woman and holding her hand.

The witness had claimed the officer touched the victim's leg twice and remarked that it "did not look like normal behaviour for a policeman," a judge heard.

Mr Wallace said the victim had accepted Ankrett's "portrayal as some kind of knight in shining armour" – but, in fact, he was interested in a sexual relationship.

The officer, from Hednesford, offered his personal phone number to the woman and told her how attractive he thought she was which later escalated, a court heard.

The 40-year-old officer sent her messages indicating he wanted to "f**k her all night" and another in which he couldn't wait to "f**k her", with images also exchanged of a sexual nature, Mr Wallace said.

A victim impact statement, read out by the prosecutor, said she felt as if Ankrett had "preyed" on her and that he wanted something more when she just wanted a "friend", a judge heard.

She has since lost her trust in police and has described the experience as "degrading" and that she felt "so very vulnerable" at the time but had since bounced back and was mentally strong.

Ms Sharonjit Bahia, defending Ankrett, said the relationship had lasted between July 8 and July 17 and involved sexting and two occasions of visiting her, with kissing on one of those occasions – and the visits were only brief, with one lasting 15 minutes before the end of his duty.

Ms Bahia said: "I agree over-familiarity was there from the beginning, he clearly dropped his professional guard when responding to this complainant and he acknowledges that, but it is completely out of character."

Wolverhampton Crown Court heard how he was described as being hard-working and trust-worthy and he had ceased contact with the woman voluntarily after filing in a police document.

Ms Bahia said Ankrett had been off work for 20 months as a result of an injury to his ankle and then an injury to his shoulder and his self-esteem was low. She added he has since been dismissed from the force for gross misconduct.

The officer was charged in 2019 after an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct. Ankrett had pleaded guilty at Wolverhampton Crown Court on September 14 to a charge of corrupt/improper exercise of police powers and privileges by a constable,.

The defendant, a force response officer, was restricted from duties and has been working in a non-public facing role since the allegation was made.

Recorder Christopher Millington QC, sentencing Ankrett to five months in prison, said it was "important" the sentence would punish him and deter other police officers from this kind of conduct.

Ankrett was dismissed from West Midlands Police without notice by Chief Constable David Thompson at a misconduct hearing on October 14.

In the hearing the Chief Constable said: “Officers like this have no place in West Midlands Police. They are an abhorrence to the men and women who make up this organisation who go out day in day out to protect the most vulnerable. They damage our standing and professional reputation. We will root them out and not only dismiss them but actively seek prosecutions when criminal laws have been broken.”

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News