Police sergeant abused female colleagues

A former police sergeant for Redbridge and Havering abused two female colleagues “in every way possible”, a disciplinary panel found yesterday.

Former Met sergeant, Paul Storey, was found to have abused his fellow officers between 2013 and 2017.

However, despite both women reporting him to the police in 2017, there are no plans to convict him and he remained on on “restricted duties” until he retired, four months before his first disciplinary hearing was due to begin, last year.

The panel heard testimony from one victim that Storey abused her “physically, sexually, mentally and financially”, causing her to lose a stone and a half and her hair to fall out.

Delivering the panel’s findings, legally qualified chair Eileen Herlihy said the accounts of both women were “remarkably similar” and “among the most serious this panel has collectively heard”.

Both women told the panel that Storey was a “sex maniac” who used demeaning and misogynistic language, including telling one he had sex with her from behind “so I do not have to look at your ugly f***ing face”.

During one violent assault, Storey’s neighbour heard him throw one of the women down the stairs and called the police, fearing she had been killed.

The second woman recounted a number of violent episodes in which he grabbed her by the neck and pushed or threw her.

During one incident in mid-2017, she said he grabbed her by the throat and threw her so hard against a door frame that she had difficulty breathing.

The panel also heard he controlled both women’s day-to-day life, limiting their contact with friends and social media use. They said Storey left them with debt from car loans they had taken out for him due to his poor borrowing history.

During the two weeks of hearings, Storey denied the women’s accounts, claimed he had never been violent, and alleged that they had “conspired” against him. 

But panel chair Herlihy said he failed to provide “any credible motive” for the women making false allegations.

The panel found the allegations to be true, “on the balance of probabilities,” after seeing photographic evidence of injuries and hearing from both women, fellow officers they confided in at the time and his neighbours.

After the panel found most of the gross misconduct allegations proven, Andrew Waters, representing the police, called the former officer’s conduct “vile abuse”.

He said: “The impact on both women was extreme, both suffered marked deterioration of their mental health as a result of his actions.

“His behaviour was compounded by dishonest actions during proceedings, marked by a failure to take account for his actions. As a result both women had to relive the suffering they had at his hands during their days of evidence last week.”

Storey has never been charged with any criminal offence relating to his conduct towards the two women, although they reported him to the police in late 2017.

In November 2018, Essex Police provided the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) with a file of evidence, but it was not until March 2020 that a final decision not to charge him was made.

Despite the Met being aware of the allegations since 2017, its Directorate of Professional Standards waited a further nine months to conclude there was a case to answer for gross misconduct.

A Met spokesperson said Storey had been on “restricted duties” in a non-public facing role following the 2017 allegations, until he retired four months before his first disciplinary hearing was first scheduled in September 2021.

The spokesperson added: “A hearing date was expedited as quickly as possible based on the availability of all parties.

“There can be complexities around arranging misconduct hearings, both in terms of logistical arrangements and ensuring all available evidence and information is obtained to ensure a fair hearing.

“We recognise the impact awaiting proceedings can have on all parties and always strive to bring matters to as swift a conclusion as possible.”

Local area commander Chief Superintendent Stuart Bell said Storey’s behaviour was “abhorrent”, adding: “It is hardly necessary for me to say that his behaviour has fallen very far below what we expect of our police officers.

“This type of abuse has a lasting and significant impact on victims and we take all allegations extremely seriously.

“We know it is really shocking to hear a police officer is capable of carrying out such behaviour and, as part of work to rebuild the trust Londoners have in us, we have created a new dedicated team focused on investigating allegations of sexual misconduct as well as domestic abuse involving our officers and staff.

“This team improves our ability to identify patterns of concerning behaviour. While we’re working really hard on this, it will be of little consolation to the women [he] abused and our thoughts are with them.”

The panel ruled former Storey would have been dismissed without notice if he had not already retired.

A CPS spokesperson said they first advised Essex Police their legal test was not met in January 2019, two months after they received a full file of evidence.

They added: “Allegations of rape and violent assault are incredibly serious and prosecutors look at the evidence very carefully.

“Following a decision by the CPS that our legal test was not met to charge the suspect with rape or assault, the two complainants each requested a review.

“This was carried out under our Victims’ Rights to Review scheme by a prosecutor with no previous involvement in the case and the original decision was upheld.

“We explained our reasoning in detail to the complainants and that our role is to make independent and fair decisions based on the evidence.”

Advertisement

Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter