Ex-Met police officer convicted of multiple counts of rape

<span>A woman said Cliff Mitchell had repeatedly attacked her between 2020 and 2023 and used his status as a police officer to silence her.</span><span>Photograph: Metropolitan Police/PA</span>
A woman said Cliff Mitchell had repeatedly attacked her between 2020 and 2023 and used his status as a police officer to silence her.Photograph: Metropolitan Police/PA

A man recruited by the Metropolitan police as an officer despite being accused of raping a child was convicted on Wednesday of 13 counts of raping a woman and a child, as well as kidnap.

Cliff Mitchell, 24, was caught only when a passerby saw a female victim running through a street in Hackbridge, south-west London, shouting: “He’s going to kill me, he held a knife up to me, I’m so scared.”

Mitchell had gone to his victim’s address, raped her at knife-point, used his hooded top to blindfold her, taped her mouth, and bound her hands with cable ties, before forcing her into his car. She escaped by pretending she had to vomit.

Police were called, leading hours later to Mitchell’s capture, with the hooded top found in his car and cable ties recovered from an address linked to him.

The woman said Mitchell had repeatedly attacked her between 2020 and 2023 and used his status as a police officer to silence her, claiming that no one would believe her if she were to report the abuse.

The child was raped between 2014 and 2017, before Mitchell joined the Met, with some attacks on the woman happening after he had been accepted as a police officer. Mitchell was sacked from the police before Wednesday’s convictions.

On Wednesday at Croydon crown court he was found guilty of 10 counts of rape, three counts of rape of a child under 13, one count of kidnap and breaching a non-molestation order.

The non-molestation order against Mitchell was granted by a court in summer 2023 while he was an officer with the Met.

The Met says the child had told them of attacks by Mitchell, but in 2019 police decided to take no further action, and the Crown Prosecution Service said they were not asked to make a charging decision.

In 2020 he applied to join the Met, and began his training in August 2021. This was after a serving Met officer, Wayne Couzens, had kidnaped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard.

The Met said Mitchell passed vetting, and started duties as a police officer, serving in Hounslow, west London.

In September 2023 Mitchell was arrested for the rape of a woman and detectives followed new lines of inquiry in the earlier case of child rape, with prosecutors agreeing to charge Mitchell with both.

The female victim said Mitchell threatened her, saying “you’ve met the devil”, and that his police training meant he knew how to dispose of bodies.

A Met spokesperson said: “A child reported that she had been raped by Mitchell on a number of occasions between 2014 and 2017. An investigation was carried out and in August 2019 the decision was that no further action would be taken.

“When Mitchell was arrested and charged in September 2023, the 2017 case was reinvestigated by officers. They pursued further lines of inquiry that had not been carried out in the original investigation.

“Due to the strength of the 2017 and 2023 cases being considered together, a file was passed to the CPS in December 2023, who agreed to charge Mitchell.”

The Met added: “Mitchell received vetting clearance in 2020 when he applied to join the Met.

“Following his charge in September 2023, the MPS (Metropolitan police service) asked the head of vetting at another force to review this decision. They concluded the vetting clearance in 2020 was in line with the Authorised Professional Practice issued by the College of Policing.

“We have changed our approach and are confident that under our reformed approach, Mitchell would not be granted vetting clearance and be able to join the Met.”

The Met said that “the original investigation has been reviewed by DPS (Directorate of Professional Standards), who found no indication of individual misconduct”.

The Met’s deputy assistant commissioner, Stuart Cundy, praised the victims. “It is down to their courage that he has been convicted and faces a significant custodial sentence,” he said.

“Mitchell not only carried out a sustained campaign of abuse against both of his victims, but he told one of them she would never be believed due to the fact he was a police officer. This brazen abuse of power makes Mitchell’s actions all the more deplorable.

“I know this is another case which will impact the confidence people have in us. We are doing more than we have done in decades to rid the Met of those who corrupt our integrity.”