Police officer, 31, guilty of raping girl under age of 13 and trying to wipe his phone

19 October 2022, 14:50 | Updated: 19 October 2022, 15:04

Ford will be sentenced after being convicted of raping a child
Ford will be sentenced after being convicted of raping a child. Picture: PA

By Will Taylor

A police officer has been found guilty of raping a girl under the age of 13 and trying to wipe his phone to pervert the course of justice.

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James Ford, 31, of Hertfordshire Police, was found guilty of 10 counts of sexual abuse against the same girl at Cambridge Crown Court on Wednesday.

The officer, of Bishop's Stortford, was also convicted of four counts of rape, four counts of sexual assault and two of causing or inciting a child under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity.

Jurors, who took less than a day to decide on their verdicts, also found him guilty of carrying out an act intended to pervert the course of public justice, by "deliberately [wiping] his phone by factory resetting his Samsung Mobile phone".

Read more: Man, 29, to stand trial for murder and attempted rape of Zara Aleena after refusing to leave cell

Ford denied the offences, which took place between 2019 and 2021.

Isobel Ascherson, prosecuting, said Ford told police his phone had been reset accidentally but he later said he did it because he was having an affair with a woman.

He said during interview that he "got upset, I cried" after hearing about the allegations against him and did not know why the child would make them.

He told the court the accusations were untrue.

Ford was suspended from his force in November.

Mr Justice Simon Bryan, remanding Ford in custody ahead of sentencing, said the officer was "obviously going to have a lengthy custodial sentence - the sentence will be determined by me on Friday".

The head of the Child Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit at Cambridgeshire Police, Detective Inspector Susie Hine, said: "Through the victim's powerful testimony, the jury were left in no doubt and now a predatory sex offender is behind bars.

"Cases of this nature are both disturbing and upsetting and I want to reassure the public, there is no place for an offender to hide no matter who they are.

"In this case it was a serving police officer who now faces the custodial consequences of his appalling actions."

Hertfordshire Police's Assistant Chief Constable Genna Telfer said: "James Ford took advantage of a vulnerable victim in the most appalling way and his behaviour will have devastated those involved.

"Thankfully, due to the bravery of the victim and the due diligence of the officers investigating, he will now serve time in prison which is where he belongs.

"I am disgusted by his actions and he will face a fast track hearing for dismissal."