Top judges clear PC of sex romp on duty
A married police officer jailed after he was found guilty of romping with a woman while on duty has been cleared by appeal judges.
Nicholas Paul Stone admitted to a relationship with the woman, but always denied raping her or having sex when he was on duty and in uniform.
In March last year, he was acquitted of rape, but convicted of misconduct in public office at Exeter Crown Court and jailed for 12 months, later cut to five months.
But yesterday, after a second appeal, the 42-year-old was fully cleared by three top judges, who said new evidence cast serious doubt on the woman's reliability.
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A tearful Mr Stone and family members hugged each other as Lord Justice Elias finished the judgment and said there would be "no public interest" in a retrial.
Outside the court, Mr Stone said: "I'm really pleased that finally justice has prevailed. I'd just like to thank my family and friends for their support."
The Court of Appeal heard Mr Stone, from Pitminster, near Taunton, was a Tiverton-based officer with Devon and Cornwall Police when he met the woman while dealing with one of her relatives.
A relationship began and he admitted having sex with her, but always denied her claims that they were intimate together when he should have been in uniform.
He was ultimately convicted on one count, which alleged he had followed the woman into her home one summer Friday morning in 1999 and had sex.
The woman said she had returned from a school event at a leisure centre and bumped into him outside her house. The sex was interrupted when he received a call on his police radio, she said.
Yesterday, his barrister, Edward Burgess, produced new evidence in the form of police notebooks which showed that there had been only one Friday when Mr Stone was working at that time.
Fresh evidence from a school teacher and a leisure centre worker also showed that that particular Friday had been after the summer holidays began, so the woman could not have been at a school event. That meant the woman's evidence was unreliable, because she could not have had sex with him on the occasion she claimed, the judges were told.
Giving judgment, Lord Justice Elias, sitting with Mr Justice Saunders and Mr Justice Nicol, said: "We are satisfied that the verdict is not safe."