Police officer who recorded himself having sex with 13-year-old girl gets jail
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A paedophile police officer who recorded himself having sex with a teenage girl on her mobile phone after grooming her online has been jailed for more than six years. PC Luke Horner, 24, who is also an ex-soldier, travelled over an hour from his home to Rushden, Northamptonshire to attack the 13-year-old girl he had met on social media .
He went on to sexually assault the victim while off-duty by engaging in penetrative sexual activity, which he recorded video footage of on her mobile on June 11. The girl’s horrified mother later found the film on her daughter’s phone and called police who arrested the Thames Valley Police (TVP) officer.
Horner, of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, was immediately suspended from duty by TVP and later resigned in July. He went on to plead guilty to one count of engaging in penetrative sexual activity with a child aged 13-15 at Northampton Crown Court in August.
On Friday (October 6), he was jailed for six years and four months in prison at the same court and looked close to tears as he was sentenced. Sentencing, His Honour Judge David Herbert KC told Horner he had undermined the public’s confidence in the police.
He said: "This is an utterly shameful day for you. You are being sentenced for sexual activity with a child who was 13 which involved full intercourse. This offence is disgraceful for any man but further to that you were a serving police officer.
"When you became a police officer you would have taken an oath to act with integrity and protect the public. You have failed, and undermined the public’s confidence in the police.”
Horner was told that, had his victim been 12, the charges would have been even more serious. The law dictates that perpetrators of this type of offence, where the child has reached the age of 13, are charged with sexual activity with a child rather than rape.
During sentencing, the court heard from a relative of the young girl who said in her victim's personal statement: “How can I sleep at night knowing what he did? How can he? How did he go into work, put on his uniform and face his colleagues knowing he had broken the law? I feel sick to my stomach every time I think about it.”
In mitigation, the court heard Horner had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity, had shown some remorse for his crime and had no previous convictions.
Detective Sergeant Sarah Osborne from Northamptonshire Police, said after the case: “No sentence can make up for what Luke Horner has done but I hope the conclusion of this case, and the fact that he is now going to spend time in prison, provides some small comfort to the family of this young girl.
“I want to commend them for the trust they put in us to investigate this crime and for their support throughout – neither of which we have ever taken for granted. As the relative of this young girl said in her victim impact statement – how could Luke Horner go into work and put on that uniform, all the while knowing what he had done?
“His behaviour and his actions go against everything we stand for within policing and it is people like him that we continue to work relentlessly to expose and to remove for good.
"I hope this case demonstrates just how seriously we take the protection of children in this county and that it doesn’t matter who you are if you commit an offence, we will do everything we can to put you where you belong – behind bars.”
Head of Child Safeguarding for Northamptonshire Police - Detective Chief Inspector Jen Castle said: “We are so pleased to have secured justice for the child in this case. Horner’s conviction and sentencing also demonstrates a positive outcome for policing.
“Police officers and staff who think they can break the law have no place in our profession. Upholding the law and maintaining professionalism are our top priorities.”
Thames Valley Police made a referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which decided the matter should be subject to a local investigation by the force.
An accelerated misconduct meeting took place on September 4 2023, where it was found that Horner’s behaviour amounted to gross misconduct. He would have been dismissed if he were still serving and he is to be placed on the Barred List, meaning he is prevented from re-entering the police service