Friday 23 February 2018

Sexually obsessed police officer jailed for sending explicit texts to women he met through work

Ben Kendall

A "SEXUALLY obsessed" police officer who sent explicit text messages to vulnerable women after his marriage fell apart has been jailed for three years and four months.

Mark Wilkie, 51, of Leary Crescent, Newport Pagnell, sent text messages and made heavy breathing phone calls to a total of 12 women, including teenagers as young as 15 who had been reported missing and victims of domestic violence, Cambridge Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Laura Blackband said most of the victims were women Wilkie had come into contact with through his role as a Pc in Leighton Buzzard.

He would either obtain their phone number legitimately when dealing with their complaints or search police databases to track them down, she added.

One of his first victims was a woman who advertised a wedding dress for sale in a local newspaper. He sent a series of messages, claiming his name was "Chloe".

In one he wrote: "Maybe you could model it for me," before making sexual suggestions.

He later began a relationship with the woman before harassing her daughter.

Ms Blackband added: "At least 12 women received sexually explicit messages from this defendant over 18 months.

"Sometimes he made silent or heavy breathing calls. Often the messages would start off as friendly but then escalated.

"One victim received two or three text messages and up to 20 silent calls each day.

"Some of the messages gave the impression he was watching them by mentioning details he could not otherwise know.

"One said: 'You look sexy in your hotpants', when that victim was indeed wearing hotpants. In another message he asked: 'Can we meet up and have sex?'"

Wilkie admitted 12 counts of misconduct in public office between May, 2008, and September last year, at an earlier hearing. He also admitted stealing a mobile phone which he used to harass women.

When investigators searched his work locker, they found a phone with the numbers of 50 women who may have been victims, Ms Blackband said.

Hector Maclean-Watt, in mitigation, said that Wilkie's marriage had broken down in 2004 and a subsequent four-year relationship had ended shortly before the start of the offences.

He added: "He served for nearly 30 years as a Bedfordshire Police officer and elsewhere. He was retired by the time these charges were brought against him.

"He received five commendations for bravery and exceptional service, including for carrying a lady from a burning building and tackling an armed robber when he himself was unarmed.

"These offences happened at a time when he was lonely and alone.

"This is a man whose life came crashing down."

Judge Gareth Hawkesworth said that it was clear Wilkie had become "sexually obsessed" and said he was satisfied that obsession extended beyond the 12 women named on the indictment.

The judge added that the offences were an "appalling breach of trust" which "undermined public confidence in the police".

Jailing Wilkie, he said: "The very nature of your role as a police officer attending missing persons reports and incidents of domestic violence meant you abused the very people you were supposed to protect."

Outside court, Wilkie's former partner, Lyn Cawkwell, 39, from Milton Keynes, said he had been a controlling and unpredictable man.

When their relationship ended after seven years in 2009, he bombarded her 19-year-old daughter, Stacey, with 300 messages, she claimed.

Ms Cawkwell added: "The police investigated the messages but they were not part of this case.

"I'm glad to see him locked up so I know he can't do to anybody else what he did to us."

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