A YORKSHIRE policeman has been jailed for targeting vulnerable women and sexually assaulting them while on duty.
Ex-PC Lee Kershaw, 38, used his uniform and police car to abuse the trust of his four victims so he could attack them while serving as an officer with Humberside Police in 2008, a court heard.
Kershaw, from Cramlington, Northumberland, was jailed for three years at Sheffield Crown Court after previously pleading guilty to four
offences of sexual assault and four of misconduct in public office.
The court heard Kershaw’s victims came forward after he was previously jailed in December 2009 for attempting to rape a woman in her own home while her young son was strapped into a pushchair in the next room.
Kershaw, who was on duty at the time, then changed his name from Lee Rackham following his five-year jail term.
But following his release in June 2012, Kershaw, who previously served in the Army, was questioned by police when four further allegations were made against him.
The court heard how all of his victims had been approached while Kershaw was in uniform.
David Bradshaw, prosecuting, said Kershaw had been called to a domestic incident in June 2008 in Hornsea, East Yorkshire.
The court heard Kershaw interviewed the woman, who was described as “distraught and highly emotional”.
He then rang her up, claiming he had some documents he needed her to sign and so arrived at her home “fully dressed in uniform”.
Mr Bradshaw said: “She signed some forms and was sat on the settee.
“He engaged her in conversation and committed the offence.”
Despite the woman confiding in a friend, she didn’t report the assault “for fear of reprisals”, however when he called her time and time again, she threatened to tell the police what was going on.
In October 2012, the matter came to light when she spoke to another police officer.
Mr Bradshaw said Kershaw’s second victim had just come out of a long-term relationship and was “heartbroken” when she met him.
The mother-of-three went out drinking with a friend and an argument took place which led to them being spoken to by officers in a police car.
The officers, one of which was Kershaw, offered to take her and the friend home to “remove them from the problem”.
However, when they got out of the car outside her friend’s home, Kershaw told the victim to “get in the back of the car”.
The court heard they talked and then she gave Kershaw her phone number, before he gave her a lift home.
But she was later awoken by a knocking, and was “drunk and sleepy”, so answered the door while naked when she was told it was the police.
Mr Bradshaw said that Kershaw sexually assaulted her while she was sat on her bed.
The second victim told her sister and her friend what had happened, and two days later was “puzzled” when Kershaw phoned her at home, despite her only giving him her mobile number.
“He rang her a few days later, asking her to meet him in lay-bys,” said Mr Bradshaw.
Mr Bradshaw said she ignored the calls, and when he called her again in late 2008, she told him she didn’t want to see him again.
The court heard that after reading about Kershaw’s conviction, it was then that officers came to her house and she decided to tell them what had happened to her.
The third victim was approached by Kershaw in December 2008 when she was staying with relatives in Hornsea.
She came across a road traffic accident, and the road was blocked, so Kershaw asked her to help him manage the traffic.
Mr Bradshaw said she had in the meantime given him her number and the address of where she was staying.
She told her family what had happened and at around 10pm, there was a knock on the door.
The court heard Kershaw was in uniform and was driving a police car, and said he was making enquiries as to her welfare.
Her family went to bed leaving them alone and Kershaw engaged the victim in a conversation, telling her personal details about himself.
Mr Bradshaw said: “The longer he was there the more uncomfortable she became.”
After the victim moved away from Kershaw, he followed her into the kitchen and then sexually assaulted her.”
Kershaw’s fourth victim was having problems with her daughter and husband when they met, the court heard.
Caroline Goodwin, defending, said: “This has not been able to take place because he has been held back by the further offences hanging over him like the sword of Damocles.
“Clearly he was convicted in the name of Rackham and tried to make a fresh start and so the opportunity to move on again and forward is going to be the rug pulled from underneath his feet. It’s all very unhappily part and parcel of the same course of conduct.”
Recorder Jonathan Carroll said: “The vast majority of us are taught from an early age that if you are in danger, difficulty or in trouble, we should turn to a police officer to go and get help.
“Policing is conducted by consent and that consent depends entirely on trust. It’s your conduct and conduct of this type that drives a complete coach and horses through that trust, destroying the relationship between police and the people they seek to serve.”