A van arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London on Feb 6, 2023 during the two-day sentencing of serial rapist police officer David Carrick. (PHOTO / AFP)
LONDON — A former London police officer was jailed on Tuesday for more than 30 years for an "unrestrained campaign of rape and abuse of women" over nearly two decades in the latest scandal to hit Britain's biggest police force.
David Carrick, who worked in the Metropolitan Police's parliamentary and diplomatic protection service, used his position to intimidate victims, saying no one would believe their word against a serving officer, prosecutors said.
Carrick’s offences, which included 24 counts of rape, were all committed while in the Met, which is already reeling from other revelations of wrongdoing in recent years
One victim told the court that Carrick had threatened her with his baton and also sent him a photograph of his police-issued firearm saying: “Remember, I am the boss.”
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“I was too frightened to go to the police to lodge a complaint as (Carrick) had drilled it into me that ‘he was the police, he was the law and he owned me’. I was convinced the police would not believe me,” she said in a written statement.
The 48-year-old had previously pleaded guilty to 49 charges relating to 12 victims between 2003 and 2020, making him one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders.
Carrick’s offences, which included 24 counts of rape, were all committed while in the Met, which is already reeling from other revelations of wrongdoing in recent years.
He appeared at London’s Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday as Judge Bobbie Cheema-Grubb imposed 36 life sentences, with a minimum term of 32 years minus the time he has already served.
"Behind a public appearance of propriety and trustworthiness, you took monstrous advantage of women drawn into intimate relationships with you," Cheema-Grubb told Carrick who sat impassively in the dock.
“You brazenly raped and sexually assaulted many women … and you behaved as if you were untouchable. You were bold and, at times, relentless, trusting that no victim would overcome her shame and fear to report you."
Cheema-Grubb said Carrick's "unrestrained campaign of rape and abuse of women" had caused "irretrievable devastation".
"These women are not weak or ineffectual," she added. "They were victims of your criminal mindset. The malign influence of men like you in positions of power stands in the way of a revolution of women’s dignity."
Victims now fear police
Hertfordshire Police, which led the investigation into Carrick, said its inquiry was ongoing and urged anyone who thinks they have been a victim of Carrick to come forward.
Britain's interior minister Suella Braverman called Carrick's crimes "a scar" on the police, saying: "It is vital we uncover how he was able to wear the uniform for so long."
An inquiry set up last year to examine the 2021 rape and murder of Sarah Everard by another serving Met officer will now also look into Carrick’s case to see if any red flags were missed and whether colleagues had any inkling of his offending.
Carrick had previously come to police attention over nine incidents including accusations of harassment, assault and rape between 2000 – the year before he began training with the Met – and October 2021, when he was first charged.
The London force, which dismissed Carrick last month, repeated its apology for failing to spot his behaviour earlier.
"David Carrick’s crimes were unspeakably evil," Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said in a statement.
"He subjected these victims and survivors to the most degrading and inhumane treatment and yet they still showed the courage to come forward and to provide the evidence that led to his conviction.
"He should not have been a police officer. We weren’t rigorous enough in our approach and as a result we missed opportunities to identify the warning signs over decades … We are truly sorry."
Rowley, who was appointed last year to clean up the Met, vowed to win back women's trust.
But the harrowing details of Carrick’s offending, which were outlined by prosecutors on Monday, demonstrate the scale of his task. The Met has been damaged by revelations of a culture of corruption, racism and misogyny among some officers.
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Carrick pleaded guilty to a total of 49 offences, including rape, attempted rape, sexual assault, false imprisonment and coercive and controlling behaviour.
Prosecutor Tom Little told the court on Monday that some of the 49 charges covered multiple incidents and that Carrick admitted “no less than 71 instances of serious sexual offending”, including 48 rapes.
Some of the victims said in their written statements that they no longer felt safe around police. "Every time I see a policeman or police car I freeze,” one woman said.