Two ex-West Midlands Police officers jailed for having sexual relationships with women they met on duty
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Two former police constables have been jailed for misconduct after engaging in sexual activity with women they met on duty. Former West Midlands Police officers Anthony Ritchie, 46, and Steven Walters, 55, in July were found guilty at Birmingham Crown Court of two counts of misconduct.
Their 12-day trial was told they targeted the same victim, who has since experienced a “massive” impact on her mental health. Ritchie, of East Meadway, Tile Cross, Birmingham, was jailed for four years by Judge Roderick Henderson on Thursday.
Walters, of Winster Green, Newhall, Swadlincote, Derbyshire, appeared in the dock alongside his former colleague and was jailed for two-and-a-half years. Walters previously served a four-year sentence for sexually assaulting two different women in 2015 whilst on duty, the court was told.
According to reports, Walters forced a vulnerable domestic abuse victim into performing oral sex with him while he was on the radio in order to gain control because it "gave him a kick."
Meanwhile, Ritchie had sex with a grieving widow while wearing his police uniform and then asked her to lie to superiors about the relationship. A court heard the West Midlands Police officers both engaged in sexual activity with the same victim.
Walters reportedly initiated an inappropriate relationship with the victim in October 2013 when he visited the woman’s home. Ritchie later began his sexual misconduct with the same woman following his initial visit to her address in June 2014.
He also sent messages from his personal phone and they had sex after he arrested her partner, who was then remanded in custody. The pair denied misconduct in public office relating to three women but were on July 17 found guilty by a jury sitting at Birmingham Crown Court.
Passing sentence, Judge Henderson thanked the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) for its “exemplary” inquiry into the two men. The judge added: “Above all I am grateful to the three complainants in this case – these were brave women who came forward and stood up for themselves and their community.
“They, above all, deserve our thanks. The effects of sexual offending are never over once the act stops – they continue to ripple out, often for years.”
The court was told one of the charges against Walters and another against Ritchie related to the same woman, whose victim impact statement said of the former: “I can’t understand how any decent human being could do what he did.
“He has absolutely ruined my life. He has changed the person I am.”
Commenting after the ex-officers were jailed, IOPC regional director Derrick Campbell said: “Abuse of position for a sexual purpose is a form of serious corruption, which has the potential to impact public confidence in policing.
“These now former officers would have been well aware of the vulnerability of the women they involved themselves with and yet they chose to exploit that for their own gain.
“Their disgraceful actions have no place in policing and they have paid a heavy price by losing their liberty. It sends a very clear message that this kind of predatory behaviour will not be tolerated.”
Ritchie was dismissed without notice for discreditable conduct at an accelerated hearing held by West Midlands Police on September 14.