Shropshire Star

Exploitative police officer jailed after sexual relationships with domestic violence victims

A former police officer who had sexual relationships with two women who reported cases of domestic abuse has been jailed.

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Rhett Wilson was sent to jail. Photo: West Mercia Police

Rhett Wilson, 27, had approached a total of three Shropshire women during his time as a West Mercia Police officer. All three had come into contact with him after reporting allegations of domestic violence.

The officer, from Jellalabad Barracks in Tidworth, shared sexual images that one victim had sent to him with three of his friends, and told them he risked losing his job or going to jail for his actions.

In Whatsapp messages recovered by police Wilson had boasted to his friends about his sexual activities with the women, saying: "Big R slaying more victims of crime."

Giovanni D'Alessandro, prosecuting, had also told Worcester Crown Court, that there were repeated racial references to one victim – describing her as 'a little half Indian victim'.

Wilson was also found to have tried to destroy evidence on his phone to avoid being caught.

Wilson had been found guilty at trial of perverting the course of justice, and had previously admitted three counts of police corruption.

The court heard he had been trained over how to deal with victims of domestic violence and warned by two colleagues about the consequences of starting relationships with victims who had reported offences.

Wilson was a police officer in Shropshire from April 2019 to July 2020 before rejoining the Army after leaving the force, and the court was told the offences had come to light when a man was brought in for interview by police at Telford Police Station.

The man told officers that one of their colleagues had been sending his girlfriend intimate pictures of himself.

Ms D'Alessandro said Wilson had met the first victim when she reported a domestic assault in October 2019.

He had given her his work telephone number as well as his personal one, assuring her it was okay when she questioned it.

He asked her to send pictures of the bruises from the attack, and then proceeded to send her messages from his personal number on Whatsapp.

The messages continued and the woman sent him intimate pictures of herself before sexual activity took place.

Wilson had told officers he thought the relationship was acceptable because the initial domestic violence case had been passed to another force.

During a Whatsapp exchange with a friend Wilson referenced potentially going to jail, to which his friend said: "Not as long as she keeps her poppadom eating mouth shut."

Judge Nicolas Cartwright, said Wilson had responded by saying "exactly".

The second woman had reported her ex-partner harassing her to police.

Wilson had gone to interview her and was described by the victim as "over friendly".

In the weeks that followed she told police he contacted her "every day, even if there was no news".

The messages became flirtatious and sexual, with Wilson asking her out on dates.

At one point he told her he want to have sex with her and "throw her around the room".

The court was told on one occasion he had kissed her on the lips, but Ms D'Alessandro said the victim "kept making excuses and eventually stopped replying".

The court heard that the third victim had declined to make a statement, but that he had referred to her in discussions with friends as "a blonde piece who was a stalking job".

In the Whatsapp discussions with friends he said he had had sex with the woman.

In a victim impact statement one victim, who was a user of Class A drugs, described how the incident had caused her to lose faith in the police.

She said: "I feel I cannot trust the police any more to help me. I don't feel I can call them out because they might be friends of him."

She had also told how she had been left with anxiety and depression from the experience.

Another victim said she had already experienced PTSD from previous domestic violence and that the case had made it worse.

She described not wanting to go out after seeing the defendant repeatedly in and around Shrewsbury.

Asked why she had not reported the incident she said: "I did not feel anyone would believe me because he was a policeman."

Wilson's barrister said his client had pleaded guilty to three of the offences, adding that "he was extremely young in service and in age" at the time of the offences.

She told the court that he had since re-joined the army and had references showing his dedication to service – particularly leading patrols of the Estonian border.

He was described by senior officers as an "outstanding officer" and had been prompted from Corporal to Lance Corporal.

Sentencing Judge Cartwright said the offences risk harming public confidence in police and as such only a custodial sentence was acceptable.

Wilson was jailed for a total of 34 months.

Speaking after the sentencing, West Mercia Police's Deputy Chief Constable, Alex Murray, said: “Rhett Wilson abused his position as a police officer to start relationships and it is likely his victims did not even know what he was doing was wrong.

"The public need to have confidence police officers will act with the utmost integrity and not abuse their powers. Wilson’s actions could seriously undermine that confidence and his exploitive behaviour will not be tolerated in West Mercia Police.”

In a statement, West Mercia Police said internal misconduct proceedings will now take place.

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