A former West Midlands Police community support officer has been jailed after having a five-month affair with a victim of crime.
Married Kevin Hathaway struck up a sexual relationship with the vulnerable woman after texting her a burglary crime reference number – with a ‘kiss’ at the end.
The 38-year-old from Kidderminster would often visit her whilst on duty whilst serving for West Midlands Police, who he had worked for 12 years.
But the illicit relationship was rumbled when someone tipped off the force which then launched an internal investigation.
Hathaway resigned earlier this year and later admitted a charge of misconduct in a public office.
Judge Sarah Buckingham, passing sentence at Birmingham Crown Court described him as ‘flawed and weak’ before jailing him for 12 months.
She said: “The public are entitled to expect that when a police office or police community support officer behaves in the way in which you have done and abuses their position, they are punished.
“There is no doubt this offending crosses the custody threshold and I bare in mind the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the pressure it puts on prisoners.
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“But some offending is so serious it requires not only a punishment, but a deterrent and a message to be sent out loud and clear that when people in a position of power behave in this way they can only expect a sentence of immediate custody because your offending, if not met with the appropriate punishment could wholly discredit the police force.”
The woman in the case was a victim of an attempted burglary in 2018.
“Unsurprisingly this made her anxious and made her feel vulnerable through fear of further burglary,” said prosecutor Antonie Muller.
“This defendant’s job was to of course acknowledge her vulnerability and to resist it and to assert his professional role towards her to investigate it rather than begin a sexual relationship with her which is what he did. It last about five months.
“It reached the stage he would visit her on duty by motor-vehicle and about half of the visits to her involved sex between the two of them. It wasn’t very subtle. It couldn’t have been.”
In the space of 12 months between June 2018 and June 2019 Hathaway made contact with the woman more than 2,000 times on his work mobile phone.
He was informed of the internal police investigation in August 2019 and placed on special leave before calling in sick.
While the investigation was ongoing he asked the woman to lie and to suggest their relationship only amounted to ‘flirty texting’ and that they were just friends.
She initially went along with it but within a few weeks she contacted the investigators to tell the truth.
Mr Muller said the woman, in her 20s, was ‘affected badly’ by the attempted break-in but did not think Hathaway had done anything wrong.
He added: “He ended their relationship on multiple occasions which caused her emotional distress because she loved him.”
Hathaway, of George Street, eventually admitted the affair to investigators describing it as ‘madness’ and resigned from the force at the beginning of this year.
Julia Powell, defending, stated his marriage had fallen apart as a result of the affair but nevertheless his wife, and previous wife had both confirmed he played an active and positive role in bringing up his children with them.
She said: “He accepts his behaviour was inappropriate, he accepts he should have walked away. He tried to on many occasions. She was finding that particularly difficult.”
Ms Powell added: “He has lost his employment as well as lost everything else as a result of his foolish behaviour.”
-- to www.birminghammail.co.uk