A DISGRACED Yorkshire police officer has been jailed after using his work phone to send thousands of messages to “vulnerable” crime victims - telling one, “you’re my guilty pleasure” and another, “I might pounce on you”.
“Predator” Lee Lucas, 39, used his police BlackBerry to text eight vulnerable women - including victims of domestic abuse who he met through his work - as well as showing up at their homes in patrol cars and in one incidence a riot van.
The court heard that Lucas exchanged 1,155 texts with one of his victims, with almost 800 messages being sent back and forth to his police-issued BlackBerry.
In response to the woman asking Lucas if she needed to wear clothes when he visited her at her home, he replied: “You don’t have to but you will have to forgive me for drooling into my tea.”
Another message read: “Don’t say sorry, you’re my guilty pleasure.”
While another said: “When I do get to see you I might pounce on you because it has been so long.”
Philip Standfast, prosecuting, told Sheffield Crown Court: “There are eight females with whom the prosecution say he acted with inappropriately.
“These messages so a degree of familiarity with the women.”
Mr Standfast said: “These texts can only have the effect of teasing a vulnerable woman.
“She felt vulnerable and it was nice someone would take an interest in her. When he was at her house he would tell her she looked beautiful and had a good figure.
“In one case he said he didn’t care anymore and asked if he could touch her bum.
“He would always come in a patrol car when he visited her and one time came in a riot van.”
However, Mr Standfast said when Lucas was interviewed about the woman he told officers he found she was “attractive” but “felt she had rotten teeth”.
Mr Standfast also told the court Lucas had sent a message that said: “I hope you and your pussy are well?”
Mr Standfast said: “He accepted it was a sexual innuendo but it was meant as a joke between friends.”
Lucas, from Sheffield, shared more than 1,000 text messages with another one of his victims, sending and receiving 314 through his police BlackBerry and an additional 749 through his own personal phone - sharing up to 20 message a day.
Mr Standfast said: “In the text she tells Mr Lucas she is lonely and scared.
“She said when Mr Lucas visited her in 2013 she was not in a good place. She said Mr Lucas was nice to her and he was attractive and flirty.
“She felt foolish and embarrassed Mr Lucas had taken advantage of her when she was lonely and vulnerable.”
The court heard Lucas sent and received almost another 700 texts from his other six victims, signing off his text each time with kisses.
Mr Standfast told the court that one of the victims was interviewed by Lucas after she had been arrested on an allegation of criminal damage.
Mr Standfast said: “She found Mr Lucas to be over friendly and not what she expected from a police officer.
“When he interviewed her he said she was too pretty to be a criminal.”
However Mr Standfast said Lucas denied this when interviewed by police.
When police officers searched Lucas’ home they discovered a hard drive containing 1,402 indecent images of children, 18 of which were the most serious category A images, 19 were rated as category B and the rest fell into the lowest level category C images.
Lucas initially accepted the images were his when questioned by officers but later refused to make any comment.
The court heard the images were downloaded inadvertently by Lucas alongside some 350,000 images of adult pornography.
Jason Pitter, for Lucas, said: “Mr Lucas recognises the serious position he is in.
“So far as the indecent images are concerned it is an important feature that those images were on his computer through reckless downloading.
“He appreciates he failed by some significant degree to his office and his public duties to the ladies concerned.
“In each of the cases the contact began in what he believes is legitimate circumstances.”
Mr Pitter said Lucas suffered from “sexual immaturity”.
He said: “Because of that the lines of appropriate contact became blurred.
“When there was an opportunity to take the relationship further, he declined.”
Mr Pitter told the court Lucas had ended up sleeping rough after his relationship broke down as a result of the investigation and had considered taking his own life.
Lucas, of Sheffield, earlier pleaded guilty to eight counts of making indecent images of children and one of misconduct in the public office at an earlier hearing at Sheffield Crown Court.
Sentencing him to 12 months in prison, Judge Peter Kelson told Lucas: “I accept the indecent images were a result of reckless downloading.
“The images of children were not your principal interest. Your principal interest was legal adult pornography but you continued to download from these sites knowing that these images were there.”
Turning to the charge of improper conduction in a public office, Judge Kelson said: “These were women that were vulnerable and in many cases subjected to domestic abuse.
“The degree of familiarity was entirely inappropriate and in due course led to the teasing of vulnerable women.
“There is only one way to describe your conduct and that is of a predator.
“You were here in a role as a police officer and had a job to do professionally.
“In my view your behaviour in this case undermines confidence in the police system.”
Lucas, who shook his head in the dock as the judge passed sentence, was also made subject of a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years.
Lucas was suspended from South Yorkshire Police in October following his conviction.