Policeman guilty of misconduct
A police officer accused of raping vulnerable women has been convicted of six counts of misconduct in a public office.
Pc Stephen Mitchell was found guilty of the charges by a jury of six men and six women after 21 hours and 16 minutes deliberation at Newcastle Crown Court. He was cleared of six counts of misconduct and one of assault. Verdicts are yet to be reached on two charges of rape, three indecent assaults and one of misconduct.
Mitchell, 42, of Glasgow, stared straight ahead as the guilty verdicts, each by a majority of 10 to two, were read out.
The Northumbria Police officer was cleared of three counts of rape, two indecent assaults and two counts of misconduct in a public office at the court on Friday. He had denied all charges, claiming that the 16 women who made complaints against him were liars.
During a five-week trial, the prosecution said Mitchell preyed on heroin addicts, shoplifters and a disabled teenager by offering them help while in custody at Pilgrim Street police station in Newcastle city centre, then demanding sexual favours afterwards.
He had a hold over one woman for three-and-a-half years, even trying to keep her on heroin after she had quit, which only ended when she went into hiding after he raped her in handcuffs at her home, the court heard.
Others were flattered then propositioned while still in custody with a view to beginning sexual relations later, the jury was told.
Mitchell claimed the women colluded against him after a rumour which he said had been made up by one claimant was picked up by others in the close-knit criminal fraternity. The officer claimed: "These people will grab any opportunity they can."
The jury will be sent out for a fifth day of deliberation on Wednesday morning. Mitchell was remanded in custody.