Rotherham police officer jailed over naked photo blackmail of teen girl

Daniel Cookson, who was convicted today
Daniel Cookson, who was convicted today
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A South Yorkshire police officer who ‘blackmailed’ a 15-year-old girl to send him a naked photo of herself was today jailed for 18 months.

The week-long trial at Sheffield Crown Court heard how PC Daniel Cookson, 30, got close to the victim just after her 15th birthday.

The jury returned the unanimous guilty verdict in just over two hours. Cookson’s supporters consoled each other in the public gallery as he was led away.

Cookson, a police officer in Rotherham, had previously told the court that ‘he loved her’ and said it was an ‘intense electronic relationship’.

However he denied the charge of causing a child to engage in sexual activity and said the victim was ‘lying’.

The jury heard how the text exchange between the pair got ‘more and more sexualised’ and the victim asked it to stop.

Stephen Wood prosecuting said: “She said she couldn’t take things any further.

“This prompted the defendant to tell his victim that the only way it would stop would be if she sent a picture of herself to him.

“She knew he meant naked because he had told her that he has pictures in his mind of her naked. So she did.”

Mr Wood added that this was blackmail. Cookson, of Dickens Road, Worksop, was also handed a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Cookson was suspended from his position at South Yorkshire Police when he was arrested and charged in August 2014.

A misconduct investigation will be considered by the force’s Professional Standards Department now that criminal proceedings have concluded.

Detective Superintendent Terry Mann, head of the force’s Professional Standards Department, said: “Members of the public quite rightly expect higher standards and behaviour from our officers and staff and anyone who is found to have fallen short of those standards and be suspected of committing a crime will be thoroughly and professionally investigated.

“The force expects its staff to act with integrity and professionalism to ensure people receive a high quality service and have a police service they can be proud of.”