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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Former Met officer jailed for multiple rapes

A former Met officer has been jailed after he abused his position of trust.

Cliff Mitchell (24) of Putney was convicted in February of ten counts of rape, three counts of rape of a child under 13, one count of kidnap and breach of a non-molestation order following a trial at Croydon Crown Court.

He was a serving PC in Hounslow when a number of the offences were committed.

Mitchell (pictured) was dismissed from the Met in December 2023.

Yesterday, he was sentenced to life imprisonment, to serve a minimum of 14 years.

Courageous victims

Deputy assistant commissioner Stuart Cundy said: “Mitchell’s victims have been enormously courageous, not only in initially reporting him to police but by giving evidence in court. Their bravery, as well as that of the witness who stopped to help at the scene, was rightly commended by the judge today.

“The victim statements read out in court clearly demonstrate the lifelong impact Mitchell’s offending has had and will continue to have on the rest of their lives. The fact he abused his power as an officer as part of his attempt to manipulate them is even more abhorrent.

“We understand the concerns around Mitchell being cleared to join the Met after an initial report of rape was made in 2017 and the questions this inevitably raises.

“Under our reformed vetting approach, Mitchell would not be granted vetting clearance and be able to join the Met.

“We continue to reform and invest in our vetting unit, which today is larger, better equipped and staffed by people who are showing greater professional curiosity, diligence and determination than ever before.”

Raped at knifepoint

On Tuesday, September 5, 2023, Mitchell attended the address of a woman who he raped at knifepoint before blindfolding her with his hooded top, tying her hands with cable ties and forcing her into his car.

In Longfield Avenue in Hackbridge, she managed to escape from the vehicle and approached a member of the public who let her into her car before calling 999.

An alert was put out for Mitchell’s car and he was stopped and arrested around seven miles away in Putney.

An investigation was immediately launched, led by the Met’s dedicated Domestic Abuse and Sexual Offending (DASO) team. DASO was set up to tackle violence against women and girls, with more than 50 experienced investigators targeting any officer or staff member suspected of domestic abuse or sexual offences.

Officers searched Mitchell’s car and recovered the hooded top. A search of an address linked to Mitchell found a bag containing cable ties, similar to those the victim had described as being used around her wrists.

Mitchell was remanded in custody and charged with multiple counts of rape, kidnap and breach of a non-molestation order. He was immediately suspended and was dismissed following a misconduct hearing last December.

2017 investigation

In April 2017, a child reported that she had been raped by Mitchell on a number of occasions between 2014 and 2017. Mitchell – who had not yet applied to join the police – was arrested and released on bail pending further enquiries. The case initially resulted in no further action.

Following his arrest and charge in September 2023, the 2017 case was re-investigated by officers from the DASO team. They pursued lines of enquiry that had not been carried out in the original investigation.

Due to the strength of the 2017 and 2023 cases being considered together, a file was passed to the CPS in December 2023, who agreed to charge Mitchell in relation to both victims.

Career history

Mitchell applied to join the Met in 2020 and started his training in August 2021. On finishing training school, he worked as a neighbourhoods officer in Hounslow between June 2022 and May 2023, before joining the response team.

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