UK court sentences ex-London policeman for serial rapes

LONDON (AFP): A UK judge on Tuesday will sentence an ex-London policeman convicted of serial rapes and sexual assaults over decades, as the force vows to end a culture of misogyny and lax vetting.

David Carrick, a long-serving officer in London’s Metropolitan Police, has pleaded guilty to 49 charges including 24 counts of rape over the course of 17 years.

Some of these charges refer to multiple incidents, amounting to least 85 offences in total including 48 rapes.

A judge at Southwark Crown Court in central London was set to sentence Carrick after the prosecutor said his offences merited a life sentence with a fixed minimum term.

Carrick, from Hertfordshire north of London, was to appear in court in person.

He used his status as a police officer to initially reassure women and begin relationships, before subjecting them to what the prosecutor called “a catalogue of violent and brutal sexual offences”.

“He frequently relied on his charm to beguile and mislead the victims in the first place and would then use his power and control, in part because of what he did for a living, to stop them leaving or consider reporting him,” prosecutor Tom Little told the court on Monday.

Carrick humiliated the women, including locking them naked in a small cupboard, urinating on them and whipping them.

In statements read out by the prosecutor, his victims said they felt “trapped” by him and “don’t trust the police any more”.

During the trial, it emerged that police had records of multiple complaints and allegations involving Carrick’s behaviour towards women, but he never faced a disciplinary hearing.

– ‘Must do better’ –

He was only sacked from the police last month after pleading guilty in court.

Interior minister Suella Braverman said Monday that it was “clear that policing must do better”.

She added she has asked police forces to strengthen vetting and “standards need to rise so that cases like these… become a thing of the past”.

The Met, Britain’s biggest force, has apologised for failing to act on the prior allegations levelled against Carrick, who served in an armed unit protecting MPs and foreign diplomats.

The force’s Assistant Commissioner Barbara Gray said ahead of the sentencing that “we failed to identify a man in the ranks… who carried out the most awful offences”.

“He should not have been a police officer,” she added.

The force admitted last month that on average two to three officers faced criminal charges in court every week.

The Met has responded to Carrick’s case by setting up an investigative team to target staff suspected of domestic abuse or sexual offences.

It is reviewing all current officers and staff who have faced such allegations that did not result in charges or misconduct hearings.

Anger and distrust towards the police has mounted since the murder of Londoner Sarah Everard during the pandemic in March 2021 by an off-duty police officer, Wayne Couzens, who raped and strangled her.

Carrick served in the same VIP protection unit as Couzens, who has been sentenced to spend the rest of his life in jail.