Sex pest cop told he faces jail

PC Darren Heath
PC Darren Heath

A police officer has been told to expect a prison sentence after admitting sexual relationships with three women he met while on duty.

Pc Darren Heath, 45, who is suspended from all duties at Gloucestershire Police, pleaded guilty to five counts of misconduct in a public office.

Bristol Crown Court heard he bedded one woman just minutes after informing a family that their loved one had been killed in a car crash.

Heath, of Taynton, Gloucester, always wore his police uniform while visiting his “vulnerable” victims and turned off his radio during intercourse.

Three of the misconduct charges relate to sexual relationships Heath had with three women between July 2002 and December 2013.

The police constable also admitted misconduct by pulling down his uniform trousers and exposing himself to one victim.

He pleaded guilty to “continually attending” the home of a woman under the guise of investigating an allegation her partner was harassing her.

The mother-of-two was horrified when Heath replied “but you had good sex with him, didn’t you?” after she told him about her partner’s violence.

Prosecuting, Sarah Regan said Heath had been warned about his behaviour a year after joining Gloucestershire Police in 1996 following a complaint by a student.

“He asked her personal questions and then asked whether she fancied a bit of fun before she left for university,” Ms Regan said.

“From his body language and tone she believed he was suggesting that they had sex.

“She subsequently made a complaint which was dealt with by Pc Heath being given advice.

“It is obvious that he ignored that advice and the second chance he was given.”

Ms Regan said Heath met his first victim in July 2002 after she was arrested for a drink driving offence.

A sexual relationship began and continued until after she had attended court and was disqualified from driving for two years.

Six years later, Heath was sat in his police car when his next victim approached to report that a man was unconscious in the street.

He asked for her number and attended her home four days later, when he stripped from his uniform and asked “are we going to bed then?”.

Heath visited his victim up to four times a week while working, with phone records showing that he called her at the site of a fatal car crash.

“Having been to deliver the news to the family of the deceased, he went to her home,” Ms Regan said.

“He had the paperwork from the incident with him and they had sex before he returned to work.”

The victim later became pregnant with twins but Heath convinced her to have a termination, revealing he had two children of his own.

His next victim called police after her ex-partner began stalking her and attacked her teenage daughter.

Heath visited her dozens of times but refused to attend her ex-partner’s house, telling her “the police work in strange ways”.

“He told her she had a nice top on and asked if she liked to dance,” Ms Regan said.

After the woman explained the violence she had suffered at the hands of her ex-partner, Heath replied: “but you had good sex with him, didn’t you?”.

The woman refused to open the door to Heath after he sent her a text message reading “It wasn’t coffee I wanted, it is your body”.

In September 2012, Heath met a woman after arranging a restorative justice programme for her son and began visiting her regularly.

On one occasion, he dropped his trousers and exposed himself to the woman. She refused but had sex with him during another visit.

“He had his uniform on and turned his radio off when they had sex,” Ms Regan said.

In January 2013, the woman ended the relationship after realising Heath was “only interested in a sexual relationship”, the court heard.

He was arrested last year and suspended on full pay after one of his victims complained to police.

In interview, he denied wrongdoing but later admitted five counts of misconduct in a public office.

“The behaviour and actions of Pc Heath have caused great damage to the good name of Gloucestershire Constabulary,” Ms Regan said.

Representing Heath, Ed Burgess said his client was remorseful and had caused pain to his partner of five-years and two children.

“He stands in the dock situation of shame and ignominy and he has only himself to blame for that,” Mr Burgess said.

“His reputation is in tatters, his career is over and his life is in pieces.”

Judge Neil Ford QC, the Recorder of Bristol, adjourned sentencing until Monday, telling Heath he faced “an inevitable custodial sentence”.

Heath’s victims, all of whom attended court, wept and clapped as he was led to the cells.