Met Pc slept with suicidal woman after making an on-duty visit to her home

·5-min read
Eighteen sexual offences have been recorded against Met officers between January and May this year.  (PA Wire)
Eighteen sexual offences have been recorded against Met officers between January and May this year. (PA Wire)

A Met police constable who slept with a suicidal woman who he met during a welfare visit to her home is among hundreds of officers to have faced sexual misconduct claims in recent years, a Standard investigation reveals.

Married Pc Philip Hunter, 58, first tried to kiss the 38-year-old mother weeks after being sent to her property because she was struggling to cope after her brother killed himself. He told her: “Come here you, you need a hug.”

The Standard has established that Pc Hunter retired and worked as a London black cab driver after a disciplinary hearing held in secret upheld the complaint. Transport for London revoked his licence in August after it was informed by the Met that a second woman claimed he abused his position to pursue a sexual relationship.

The Met has launched a new investigation into Pc Hunter’s conduct that heaps further pressure on under-fire Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick. Last month she unveiled an action plan to tackle violence against women and girls. Scotland Yard has been rocked by a series of scandals involving serving police officers.

Eighteen sexual offences have been recorded against Met officers between January and May this year. The Standard has found that many disciplinary hearings for officers alleged to have abused their position for sexual purposes are held behind closed doors and the results not published.

This is despite the Independent Office for Police Conduct warning in October it is the “single largest form of police corruption”, accounting for around a quarter of all referrals last year, and almost 60 per cent of such investigations.

Separate data found 163 Met officers have been arrested for sexual offences since 2010, with 38 of them convicted after appearing in court.

A newly unearthed judgment of Pc Hunter’s disciplinary hearing in June 2020 reveals he and two colleagues were sent to a 38-year-old woman’s home to conduct a welfare check in August 2017.

The Met has launched a new investigation into Pc Hunter’s conduct that heaps further pressure on under-fire Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)
The Met has launched a new investigation into Pc Hunter’s conduct that heaps further pressure on under-fire Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)

Paramedics warned the woman, who threatened to hang herself, posed a “significant risk”. Her brother had killed himself. Later the woman, referred to as Ms X, felt reassured having spoken to Pc Hunter, who gave details about his own bereavements and told her: “You have so much to live for, you are beautiful.”

On leaving, Pc Hunter, who has never been arrested or accused of an offence, said to her: “Come here you, you need a hug,” and told her to contact him if she needed help. He later suggested they meet at her home.

Upon his arrival, Ms X said she realised he was not there in his capacity as an officer. The report says: “He asked her to close her eyes and he kissed her on the lips. Hunter then started to undo her blouse and bra but Ms X asked him to stop, which he did.”

The officer left but over the following weekend sent Ms X a sexually explicit picture. Pc Hunter then asked her to send him a naked picture which she declined. But they continued to have regular sex in her home “either before or after his shifts”. Ms X tried to break off the relationship in October 2017 when Pc Hunter told her he was married.

After Pc Hunter and his response team were again called to Ms X’s home, he confessed to a sergeant and inspector he had been in a relationship with her. He claimed they developed a “real and genuine relationship — instigated by Ms X”.

The panel said it rejected his account and also found that he had accessed the Met’s Merlin database of vulnerable people on four occasions to look up details of Ms X. While under investigation Pc Hunter retired from the Met in July 2019 to become a licensed black cab driver.

Pc Hunter’s conduct was found to have breached the Met’s standards on authority, respect and courtesy, confidentiality and discreditable conduct to a level of gross misconduct. He would have been dismissed if still serving.

Hearing chairman Cameron Brown QC said: “In terms of harm, the panel found that psychological harm had been caused to Ms X, as evidenced by the involvement of the social services and police, and in particular that significant reputational harm had been caused by his actions to the Met.”

The Met said: “The former police constable resigned from the Met in July 2019. At that time he was subject to disciplinary proceedings. A hearing held at a later date found that had he still been a Met officer, he would have been dismissed.

“There is an investigation into the former officer following receipt of a complaint from a member of the public. While this is ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment.”

Graham Robinson of TfL said: “We revoked this individual’s licence as soon as we became aware of all the relevant information.”

Pc Hunter joined the Met from British Transport Police in September 2004. During his service, he picked up five commendations including two relating to the Hatfield and Potters Bar train crashes in 2000 and 2002.

In an email to the disciplinary panel, he said: “On reflection and on being made aware of the policies in place, I realise what I did was wrong. The police was a career that I was immensely proud to serve in and I apologise to the panel and ask them to consider the human element of this case.”

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