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Sittingbourne police sergeant Clive Garton jailed for raping and stalking woman

A police sergeant has been jailed for 13 years after stalking and raping a woman, then signing a list of demands in a homemade contract so she withdrew her report to officers.

Clive Garton, 56, was last month found guilty of rape, perverting the course of justice and conduct that amounts to stalking by a jury at Lewes Crown Court in Sussex.

Garton was sentenced to nine years for rape and perverting course of justice, plus a further three years on extended licence, and for four years for stalking to run consecutively.

Clive Garton’s career and reputation is in tatters after the verdict
Clive Garton’s career and reputation is in tatters after the verdict

Sentencing Garton, Judge Janet Waddicor said: “You have manipulated [the victim] over a number of years, undermined her confidence and persuaded others to believe she is mentally impaired.

“You have caused her significant anxiety, but above all, you are consumed by sexual jealousy in relation to her, and that is why you went round - to have sex with her against her will. You will not let up in your obsession.”

During the week-and-half-long trial, the jury heard how Garton, an experienced officer who primarily served in Sittingbourne, stalked his victim.

Dale Sullivan, prosecuting, told the court Garton had planted recording devices, disguised as plugs which he had bought on eBay, in the lounge and bedroom of the woman’s home.

He had also sent her a large number of text messages and followed her in her car.

On October 22, 2016, Garton made 24 phone calls to the device so he could listen in to what was going on at the house, despite being on duty at a far-right protest march in Margate that day.

Asked by Mr Sullivan whether it was proper behaviour, he said: “It’s more than the average person would do, I accept that, but I don’t believe it was improper.”

Later that evening, he visited the woman’s home and the pair got into a heated row, which culminated in him throwing a sewing box across the room.

Then, while sat on the stairs waiting for him to leave, Garton straddled the woman and started kissing her, first on each cheek and then on the neck, despite her telling him to stop multiple times.

She tried to escape by using her elbows to move herself up the stairs, before Garton pulled down her jeans and raped her.

Clive Garton, right, appeared at Lewes Crown Court during the trial
Clive Garton, right, appeared at Lewes Crown Court during the trial

She told him afterwards that she had not consented to sex, to which he replied that he thought she "was playing".

The woman then phoned police to report the assault while he was still in the house, at which point Garton was pacing up and down, holding his head in his hands.

The jury heard that he told her: "Please don't report me, I will lose my job and end up going to prison.”

During the 999 call, made at about 11pm that day, and heard in court, the woman said: "He got me up on the landing, pushed me down and just had sex with me. I didn't agree to it at all.

"He is still here now. He was begging me not to phone. He has just asked me to tell you that I have made it up - unbelievable."

Garton had asked her to withdraw the claim, insisting he would give her whatever she wanted in exchange and would commit to it by signing a contract.

She wrote down a number of requests which he agreed to and signed, before she then phoned the police back moments later.

Lewes Crown Court
Lewes Crown Court

In this call, the woman said: "I booked in a call earlier... I wondered if I could cancel it please? I need to cancel it because we had a bit of a row and I needed to get him out the house so I phoned up and said that we had sex and I had not consented. Now I am changing it."

The police attended later that evening and Garton was arrested.

Michael Morris, defending, made reference throughout the trial to Garton’s "exceptional" previous character, pointing out his role in shutting down a £1.3million drug importation ring and handling a man who had doused himself in petrol and threatened to set himself on fire in a stand off at a Tunbridge Wells shop.

He also ran operations during the 2012 Olympic Games, including the Kent torch relay.

In various certificates of merit, he was hailed for his "outstanding professionalism and dedication to duty" while colleagues in witness statements also described him as "reliable, honest, trustworthy, dependable and very resilient".

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