March detective had a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ character and was addicted to sexual and romantic intrigue, court told
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A detective exploited his rank by kissing, touching and stroking junior women officers and pushing his body against them, a jury heard this afternoon.
Detective Sergeant Matthew Swash, 40, also allegedly “checked out” female crime victims, leading to one woman falling prey to his sexual advances.
Swash, who began working for Cambridgeshire Police in 1996, was made a Detective Sergeant in 2001.
The officer, from Crown Close, March, denies 12 charges of sexual assault against five women and two of misconduct in a judicial or public office alleged to have been committed between December 2009 and September last year.
Opening the case at St Albans Crown Court, prosecutor Peter Shaw said: “He exploited his position as a police officer to commit sexual offences against women officers.
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“It is no coincidence that all of the officers he assaulted were junior to him in rank. This was not a cast-iron method of ensuring complete impunity, of course, but it meant that those officers were much less likely to rock the boat by accusing a more senior and popular officer of such things.
“They were women with their own ambitions, their need to be accepted at work, and ultimately their own need to earn a salary and pay the mortgage.”
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He told the jury of seven men and five women that DS Swash also targeted female civilians who were victims of crimes.
Mr Shaw went on: “It was, it seems likely, in order to satisfy his curiosity as to whether he might be interested in them as potential targets of his uninvited sexual advance.
“Essentially he was ‘checking them out’, to adopt the modern phrase. Some civilians were unluckier still, one such civilian fell prey to his sexual advances. “
He said Swash had a “Jekyll and Hyde” character and was addicted to sexual and romantic intrigue. He said four of his fellow police officers were alleged victims and the other was a civilian who had sought the advice of the police in relation to her foster daughter.
“The assaults in the main consisted of him kissing the victims, sometimes very forcefully, and sometimes pushing his body against theirs where it was apparent he had an erection.
“None of these were harmless or trivial acts. They invariably left the recipients feeling upset, and perplexed as to how they were to deal with the situation of a senior officer acting in such a way.”
He said the other counts of misconduct in public office related to him accessing police systems in relation to victims, visiting them and sending them inappropriate text messages.
“However, even those offences took place to satisfy a romantic or sexual curiosity and the fact they were victims of crime was no effective deterrent to him.”