A policeman who sent sordid emails to an angling chum who turned out to be a child molester is fighting to save his career at the High Court.
As well as “joking” about rape with sex beast Robert Meade, PC Paul Woollard repeatedly used the police intelligence system to run checks on his friend and “leant him a shoulder to cry on” while he was on bail for sexually molesting a 14-year-old girl, the High Court in London was told.
Wiltshire Chief Constable Patrick Geenty is adamant that PC Woollard, 40, must be sacked and is challenging as “bizarre” and “irrational” a decision of the Police App-eals Tribunal (PAT) to order his reinstatement on the force with a final warning.
John Beggs QC, for Mr Geenty, told the court PC Woollard had used his police email address to send Meade a series of explicitly-worded messages including one which read: “Just waitin for the women to come and open up. I might rape her as theres noone else here (sic).”
Meade, who PC Woollard knew through a shared interest in cricket and angling, admitted sexual activity with a 14-year-old girl at Swindon Crown Court in October 2009 and was jailed for a year.
Mr Beggs, in his written submissions to the court, conceded there was no evidence PC Woollard, based in Highworth, outside Swindon, knew about Meade’s crime when he sent the “rape joke” email, but said he had “continued to associate” with Meade even after he was charged and on bail.
He had also committed flagrant breaches of the Data Protection Act by repeatedly accessing the ‘Niche’ police intelligence computer to look up details about Meade, the QC told the court.
Mr Geenty’s predecessor as Chief Constable, Brian Moore, ordered PC Wooll-ard’s dismissal from the force but, in May last year, he was overruled by the PAT which directed he be reinstated and given a final warning.
Challenging that ruling, Mr Beggs said: “How would a Wiltshire victim of rape react to learning that a sexual offences trained officer ‘joked’ about raping a woman himself? Would that encourage her to come forward to Wiltshire Police?” He added: “How would a man on the Devizes omnibus view the fact that one of his local officers, on duty, is sending foul emails to an inappropriate associate, joking about pornography? How would a local citizen respond to the knowledge that one of his local officers is lending a shoulder to cry on to a child sex offender on bail?”
Hugh Davies, for PC Woollard, conceded that his misconduct had been serious and that the court would be “wholly unimpressed” by his behaviour. However, he had expressed remorse and the case did not concern his “honesty and integrity”.
Mr Justice Wyn Williams has now reserved his judgment until a later date.