newsser | 18.10.2004 22:42
PC Stephen Overton was said to have stripped and attacked a 24-year-old blonde inside his police van.
And seven years ago, while serving as a soldier, he was tried but cleared of raping another woman.
Overton, 32, was fired from the West Yorkshire force after a disciplinary panel hearing but reinstated when his Chief Constable reviewed the case.
Last night the blonde, who was working as a hooker when she claims Overton assaulted her, said: “What has happened is a disgrace. This man should be in prison for what he did, not back in the police.”
Overton was accused of rape in January last year after he swooped on the woman, who The Sun has called Emily, in Leeds.
She claimed he was in full uniform when he made her pull down her knickers, ordered her to give him oral sex and then raped her.
The Crown Prosecution Service decided not to take her allegations to court. However a police panel which heard three days of evidence concluded that Overton was guilty of two counts of misconduct and he was dismissed.
But when Chief Constable Colin Cramphorn reviewed the case he ruled a “procedural error” made the panel’s findings unsafe — and “reluctantly” reinstated Overton. Yet the Chief himself branded the PC a “potential danger” and said he should have psychological assessment before going back on the beat.
He also insisted Overton be closely SUPERVISED at all times, never be ALLOWED to work in a department where he might come into contact with vulnerable women and never QUALIFY for a Good Conduct medal.
Last night a colleague of Overton at Pudsey police station in Leeds said: “He should not be allowed back on duty. Police work is difficult enough without having to keep watch on a suspect officer.”
Hooker Emily, who turned to prostitution to fund a heroin addiction, told how she was with a client in the cab of a truck on the Copley Hill Trading Estate when a police van drew up.
Overton unlocked the sliding door of the mid-section of his van and ordered Emily to sit inside while he checked her customer and his truck.
He then drove off with Emily and she assumed she was being arrested. But after 1½ miles, she said, they stopped at a deserted spot beneath a railway bridge in Globe Road.
Emily claimed Overton then slid open the van door, told her he was going to search her and patted her down over her clothes.
She said: “The copper told me to pull my tracksuit bottoms and knickers down. This was the first time I had been stopped by the police while working as a prostitute.”
Emily claimed Overton then unbuckled his belt — with truncheon and handcuffs attached — unzipped his uniform trousers and forced her to perform oral sex.
She then claimed that despite her protests he raped her, leaving DNA evidence on a van seat.
Later he dropped her off in Leeds city centre — outside a court.
After Emily told other cops about her alleged ordeal, detectives from the Police Discipline and Complaints Department launched investigations.
They seized Overton’s van and forensic experts discovered evidence on the seat Emily pinpointed.
The PC was arrested but denied Emily’s claims. Later he admitted she was in the van. He claimed she squeezed his groin — and he later pleasured himself after she had left.
The CPS decided against taking him to court because it would have been Emily’s word against his and she had convictions for dishonesty.
Instead the case was heard last May by a Police Misconduct Panel which decided Emily was a credible witness and Overton’s explanation was “ridiculous”.
But then last month the Chief Constable conducted his review after an appeal by Police Federation lawyers representing Overton.
He ruled that the failure to disclose a statement from a detective until the third day of the hearing, denying the defence an opportunity to cross-examine Emily on its contents, was “substantially unfair”.
In 1997, while he was in the Army Air Corps, Overton stood trial for rape at Stafford Crown Court over an alleged incident outside a nightclub in Wolverhampton.
The jury failed to reach a verdict and he was cleared at a retrial.
When The Sun approached Overton at his home in Harrogate, North Yorks, he said: “I don’t want to speak about it. I have been through enough.”
His lawyers Russell, Jones and Walker said: “Our client has always categorically denied the allegations which were made against him.”
West Yorkshire Police said: “We do not discuss individual disciplinary cases.”