Client: “Jane” (name changed)
Defendant: Greater Manchester Police
Compensation claims for an adult groomed by police officer involving:
- sexual harassment (as defined in the Equality Act 2010)
- misfeasance in public office.
Claimant’s lawyer: Kevin Donoghue, Solicitor
Defendant: Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police
Result: £20,000 compensation plus legal costs.
CAUTION: This case report includes references to sexual abuse.
Jane first contacted Greater Manchester Police in 2012 to report a terrifying, and terrible, ordeal. She told them that she had been raped at knifepoint and abducted by two men a few days earlier.
The force promised to send a specialist officer round to take a statement in a couple of days.
But, to Jane’s surprise, an officer came the same day. PC Simon Rose, who was later described as a “specially trained officer involved in dealing with rape and sexual assault allegations”, attended her home alone.
Jane was distressed by her ordeal and relieved to have the police involved. PC Rose was polite and professional. He took her to a local police station for interview. She then went to hospital to get a forensic exam.
After that, Jane did not hear from Greater Manchester Police for a while, so she contacted them for an update. PC Rose responded, saying that he was no longer dealing with her case.
During the call, Jane told him that she was still suffering the affect effects of the traumatic incident. Rose offered to visit and turned up a few days later.
As before, he was professional, friendly, and understanding. Jane felt comforted and asked PC Rose for his phone number for support. He said that he was not allowed to give it out, but that he would do so provided that she did not share his number with anyone. Jane readily agreed.
Vulnerable Adult Groomed by Police Officer in Manchester
After this, text messages were exchanged. Slowly, PC Simon Rose built up a rapport with the still-vulnerable woman. The messages were initially platonic in the first few weeks. Later, they became more inappropriate and flirtatious.
PC Rose arranged to visit Jane at home for a third time, where he kissed her. By this point, Jane felt safe having a friendship with the officer. They kept in touch with text messages.
Over the following months, the serving officer and Jane exchanged sexualised messages and discussed fantasies. At one point, she sent explicit photos of herself to PC Rose.
The relationship developed and they met up a few times for sex. About eight months after she first met PC Rose, Jane asked the officer if he would get into a proper relationship with her. He refused, saying that he was already in a relationship with another woman and would not leave her.
Jane felt let down, but PC Rose promised to keep in touch with her.
In 2015, Jane started a new relationship and eventually married. She told her new partner about the previous relationship with PC Rose, which, at this point, was platonic. She still felt close to the officer, even though he constantly reminded her to delete text messages and to say that, if asked, “we didn’t know each other”.
In October 2019, PC Rose suddenly ceased all contact and didn’t reply to any of Jane’s text messages.
Three months later Jane received a letter from the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which:
oversees the police complaints system in England and Wales. We investigate the most serious matters, including deaths following police contact, and set the standards by which the police should handle complaints. We use learning from our work to influence changes in policing. We are independent, and make our decisions entirely independently of the police and government.
Jane called them. An investigator asked if she knew PC Rose. She confirmed that she did but had no idea why they were asking about the officer. She had neither heard from him for a while, nor filed a complaint against the police.
The IOPC explained their interest and took a formal statement. Jane told them everything about the relationship with Rose, which, at this point, had lasted for many years.
The investigators conducted a year-long investigation, in which they took statements from other witnesses and examined mobile phone evidence.
The IOPC then referred the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service for criminal proceedings.
Criminal Prosecution for Grooming
PC Rose was charged with the criminal offences of misconduct in public office and attempting to pervert the course of justice. Both charges related to matters involving Jane. He pleaded not guilty and fought the case all the way to the Crown Court.
After a nine-day trial in January 2022, Greater Manchester Police’s PC Simon Rose was found guilty of both offences.
This was a significant result for the IOPC and achieved only because Jane bravely came forward and acted as the main witness. As such, she had to endure the stress of a criminal trial, with an intense cross-examination by PC Rose’s barrister.
She also gave the court an impact statement, in which she described feeling “used” and “upset”. She was hurt by PC Rose’s “horrible” lies about their relationship, saying, “I knew they were wrong”.
PC Rose was sentenced to three years in prison. At the sentencing hearing, Judge David Swinnerton was highly critical of the way that PC Rose took advantage of Jane, a “vulnerable victim”. The judge noted that he exploited the pressure victims of sexual abuse feel when reporting it to the police, saying:
“It is wholly unacceptable if one of those factors might be them subsequently being targeted by a predatory police officer.”
How PC Simon Rose was Caught for Adult Grooming
During the IOPC’s investigation Jane found out why PC Rose stopped all contact in October 2019.
Someone had wrongly given their bail address as Jane’s address. (She was not involved in any criminal activities.)
That person skipped bail and a warrant was issued. A Greater Manchester Police arrest team was put together.
PC Rose was one of the three officers in the team. He recognised the address as they drove to it.
Alarmed, Rose told his fellow officers that he knew the address, but only because he was friendly with the female occupant, and that their relationship was “flirty but it was never sexual”.
As they approached Jane’s house, the officer told his colleagues that he was worried that something could be recovered during a search which might get him sacked. He asked his colleagues to overlook any evidence they found. (This plea was later used to prove that Rose sought to pervert course of justice).
PC Rose’s comments resulted in the police abandoning their arrest warrant mission. A senior officer reported Rose for dereliction of duty. Rose’s criminal misconduct was uncovered from there.
How Donoghue Solicitors Helped Jane with a Civil Action Against the Police
After PC Rose’s conviction, Jane decided to seek legal advice from a specialist in civil actions against the police.
She found Kevin Donoghue, solicitor, via internet search. Jane chose Kevin because he is nationally recognised for his expertise in the legal niche of police abuse of authority for sexual gain compensation claims and has successfully represented victims of grooming by the police.
Jane contacted Mr Donoghue in February 2022. It appeared to Kevin that Jane’s case had all the hallmarks of an adult groomed by police officer. (Read about the tell-tale signs in his blog post: How Police Officers Groom People for Sexual Abuse.)
He agreed to investigate a civil claim and represented her under a conditional fee (“no win no fee”) agreement. This was the most suitable funding option and meant that Jane did not pay for legal help up front.
Kevin Donoghue’s Analysis of Jane’s Civil Compensation Claim
As Jane’s solicitor, Kevin noted that PC Rose was rightly convicted of the criminal offences of misconduct in public office (criminal offence) and attempting to pervert the course of justice.
PC Rose’s criminal acts clearly met the classic definition of grooming, which you can read here. A common misconception is that grooming only involves children and young people. In fact, it often involves adult abuse, especially when police officers are the groomers.
And Mr Donoghue found that, in key respects, Greater Manchester Police’s own definition of grooming directly applied to his client’s case (our emphasis in bold throughout):
Grooming is when a person builds a relationship with a child, young person or an adult who’s at risk so they can abuse them and manipulate them into doing things.
The abuse is usually sexual or financial, but it can also include other illegal acts.
Kevin also knew from their website that the force was aware of groomers’ tactics, saying that:
A person won’t know they’re being groomed, they will trust their abuser who is giving them lots of attention and gifts. Also, their groomer may have warned them not to talk to anyone about it.
Grooming is an offence. If you suspect a person is being groomed, even if you’re not sure, please tell someone.
If you think you’re being groomed, you should tell someone.
Why Successful Criminal Proceedings Are Not Enough to Prove Civil Liability in Police Adult Grooming Claims
While helpful, PC Rose’s criminal convictions and the force’s own website page did not, in themselves, mean that Jane could bring a civil action against the police for compensation.
This is because, even though grooming is a form of adult sexual abuse, civil claims have their own laws and hurdles to overcome.
To prove liability, Kevin knew he must show how UK sexual abuse law applies to compensation claims. Mr Donoghue considered the civil law found in various statutes, legal principles, and previously decided cases, including:
- sexual harassment (as defined in the Equality Act 2010)
- the civil tort of misfeasance in public office
- the legal tests in the well-known case of Three Rivers DC v Bank of England .
Grounds for Recovering Compensation from the Chief Constable
Another matter of crucial importance to claimants is the prospect of recovering compensation awards from defendants. PC Rose was in prison, and unlikely to pay any compensation ordered by the court.
So, to make the case worth pursuing, Jane would have to show the court that PC Rose’s employer, the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, was legally liable for the wrongful acts of his employee under the doctrine of “vicarious liability”.
In this respect, Mr Donoghue noted that PC Rose was a “specially trained officer involved in dealing with rape and sexual assault allegations”. This privileged position enabled him to groom Jane.
Proving Loss to Justify a Compensation Award
Lastly, an essential part of Jane’s compensation claim was proving that she had suffered a loss.
Under oath, Jane told the Crown Court in PC Simon Rose’s criminal trial that:
“she has been left with sleep problems and panic attacks and her relationship with her partner and children has been adversely affected.”
This formed the basis of her personal injury compensation claim, but Jane had to show that her issues were caused by PC Rose’s misconduct, and not some other factor.
Mr Donoghue instructed a female chartered psychologist with experience is sexual abuse matters to prepare a detailed medical report. The report was to be written for the benefit of the court, not either party, and focus on the issues of causation and loss.
How Kevin Donoghue Pursued this Police Sexual Abuse Claim
Specialist psychologists like the one Kevin instructed are rare, and appointments can take months to come through.
So, while waiting, Mr Donoghue progressed his client’s case rapidly.
In March 2022 he sent a letter of claim to Greater Manchester Police. In it, he detailed Jane’s case and the legal basis for compensation. Mr Donoghue demanded a full response applying the Civil Procedure Rules personal injury pre-action protocol. (This was the appropriate method because Jane’s civil claim was based in a personal injury loss for psychological damage.)
Also, Kevin was acutely aware that there were potential issues with the time limits in actions against the police given the years which had elapsed since the sexual abuse started.
How Greater Manchester Police Dealt with the Claim
The police stalled for time, blaming the investigation by the IOPC.
Eventually, the force’s lawyers acknowledged that PC Rose was convicted, and said that they would not go behind the jury’s finding.
But, despite that allowance, they did not accept that Jane was entitled to compensation. They argued that Jane’s claim did not satisfy the Three Rivers DC v Bank of England tests. Among other things, they claimed that:
- Jane could not prove a material loss
- PC Rose was not targeting her with malice
- his acts of misconduct were not done in the course of public functions.
Result of This Adult Groomed by Police Officer Claim
Kevin remained confident despite the police’s denial of liability. Mr Donoghue made sure that Greater Manchester Police knew he would back Jane all the way to trial.
This was no idle threat. The police knew they had to take Jane’s case seriously because she was represented by a solicitor with a proven track record of success and years of experience in this area of law.
This pressure resulted in a negotiated settlement of Jane’s police grooming claim. With Kevin’s help, Jane settled her claim for £20,000 plus legal costs. This:
- meant that she did not have to attend court for a second time
- represented an appropriate and fair settlement
- allowed Jane to seek to move on with her life.
Shamefully, the police failed to apologise, even though it would have benefitted all involved. Read this blog post by Kevin Donoghue to find out why: Why Sorry Should Not be the Hardest Word.
More Information About How We Help People Sexually Abused by the Police
You might also be interested in a similar case involving another of Mr Donoghue’s clients, Sam McTavish.
Ms McTavish was another victim of police officer sexual abuse and grooming who bravely came forward publicly to raise public awareness. Kevin Donoghue represented her in a successful civil action against Devon & Cornwall Police. Read the case report here: How We Hold Sexual Abuse by Police to Account.
How to Start Your Adult Groomed by Police Officer Claim
Contact Donoghue Solicitors if you are an adult groomed by police officer and want help to hold the police to account.
Use our short online form or call us confidentially on (freephone) 08000 124 246 or 0151 236 1336.
We help people seek justice and compensation with any police force based in England & Wales.