Met officer jailed for trying to groom girl with ‘highly sexual’ texts

Detective Constable Mark Collins (Metropolitan Police )
Detective Constable Mark Collins (Metropolitan Police )

A Met police officer who tried to send “highly sexualised” messages to a 13-year-old girl has been jailed for more than two years.

Detective Constable Mark Collins, 58, was caught in an undercover sting conducted by colleagues.

He admitted one count of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity and six counts of attempting to engage in sexual communications with a child.

The Old Bailey heard Collins, from Fleet, in Hampshire, thought he was talking to a schoolgirl when he sent pictures of his privates over the Kik Messenger app while he was on holiday in Malta.

He also commented on her “body developing” and talked about “naughty urges” and “being horny” in November 2019 in conversations that he said should be deleted.

But Collins, who joined the force in 1991, was in fact communicating with a covert officer and was arrested at work in Bromley police station on November 26.

Collins used personal devices to commit the offences, some of which were carried out while he was on duty - but not in his capacity as a police officer.

Jailing him for two years and four months on Friday, Judge Mark Lucraft QC described the messages as being of a “highly sexualised nature”.

“It is clear many of the messages you sent are explicit, setting out what you were imagining, your sexual feelings towards her naked body,” the judge told Collins.

“It is clear from the content and tone that the messages were sent for the purposes of obtaining sexual gratification.”

Collins, who resigned from the Met after his arrest, was found to have committed gross misconduct at a disciplinary hearing last week and the force said he would have been sacked if he were still a serving officer.

Karen Robinson, defending, said the father-of-two’s offending had “no connection to his role or his duties as a police officer”.

“It is, for someone who held his position, a spectacular fall from grace,” she said.

“He must live with the shame and indignity his conduct has brought upon himself and others.”

Commander Paul Betts, of the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards, said: “These are absolutely abhorrent crimes and it is utterly shocking that a police officer could have committed them.

“It is clear this type of conduct has no place within the organisation and we are committed to bringing the perpetrators of such terrible crimes to justice, whoever they may be.”

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