Officer met lover in custody - court

AN ESSEX Police detention officer used his position of trust to start a relationship with a vulnerable woman while she was being held in custody. Adrian Rowley was in charge of Katrina Lawson's welfare when she was brought into Clacton police station under the influence of alcohol.

AN ESSEX Police detention officer used his position of trust to start a relationship with a vulnerable woman while she was being held in custody.

Adrian Rowley was in charge of Katrina Lawson's welfare when she was brought into Clacton police station under the influence of alcohol.

Harwich Magistrates' Court heard yesterday that Rowley, a civilian worker for the force, had to make regular 15-minute checks on the prisoner, who was classed as vulnerable, when she was brought in on July 23 last year.

The court heard that despite her fragile mind he started conversations of a sexual nature with the 27-year-old, swapped phone numbers with her and they began a relationship.


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Essex Police launched an enquiry into Mr Rowley's conduct, but the Colchester man left the force before it was complete and now works as a taxi driver.

Mr Rowley, who admitted the relationship, was giving evidence in the trial of Lawson, who was charged with pursuing a course of harassment against him between October 13 and November 2 last year.

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Mr Rowley, admitted he had swapped phone numbers with a person he knew to be vulnerable and had mental health problems.

He admitted they started a sexual relationship, and that he even left work early on occasions, feigning sickness, to see Lawson.

During cross-examination he said he had lied to police about how long their relationship lasted in an attempt to save his job.

Anna Perera, defending said: “Why should the court believe you are not lying now?”

“I don't know,” said Mr Rowley.

“In the month of July it was a permanent relationship, but from then on it was on and off,” he added.

He said he had voluntarily left Essex Police.

The court heard how Mr Rowley had been investigated for an assault against Lawson, which was later dropped and he then made an allegation of harassment against her.

The prosecution alleged Lawson refused to accept their relationship was over.

But Lawson, of Sunbeam Avenue, Jaywick, denied she had harassed Rowley, saying he had pestered her with calls and text messages, asking her to drop the assault charge because he feared he would lose his job.

“I did not think I was harassing him… he did not give me that signal that he did not want me to call him,” she said.

Lawson was found guilty of harassment and an offence of breaching her bail conditions and will be sentenced next month.

Chairman of the bench, Peter Mockford, said he had taken into account the fact that Mr Rowley lied to the police, but said Lawson's evidence could not be relied upon because of the influence of alcohol, and said there had been “inconsistencies” in her evidence to police.

A spokeswoman for Essex Police said: “Mr Rowley was employed as a civilian detention officer.

“Professional standards started an investigation into an allegation of misconduct in October 2005, but Mr Rowley resigned from the force in December before the conclusion of the investigation.”

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