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Pc 'sexually assaulted shoplifter'

A police officer accused of raping vulnerable women was caught when he allegedly sexually assaulted a shoplifter, a court has been told.

Pc Stephen Mitchell assaulted the woman, a mother of four who was in remission from cancer at the time, in a room at Pilgrim Street Police Station, Newcastle, the trial was told.

He warned the woman to keep quiet about what had happened, and told her: "No one's going to believe a thief," jurors heard.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the jury in Newcastle Crown Court that since the alleged assault she had been unable to have a full sexual relationship with another man and that her relationship with her partner had broken down.

Mitchell, a 42-year-old Northumbria Police officer from Glasgow, denies of five counts of rape, six indecent assaults and 15 counts of misconduct in a public office.

The woman, one of 16 complainants, told the court that Mitchell assaulted her after she was arrested for theft in July 2006, when she was aged 48. She said she had pleaded with Mitchell to stop: "I said if you just let me go I'm not going to say anything; I'm not going to tell anyone. No one will ever know this has happened. I just wanted to be away."

She said she had told Mitchell she was unwell and was on cancer medication but that "he did not seem bothered".

The woman, now 56, said the alleged assault had a profound effect on her life.

"I just used to burst into tears for no reason and I'm not a crying person. I'm normally bubbly and happy and I really just let myself go. I never ever went with my partner again and from that day to this I have never slept with another man," she said.

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