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London Police Officer Admits to 49 Charges of Sexual Abuse, Including Rape

A London police officer has pleaded guilty to charges of abuse, including rape and sexual assault, against 12 women over nearly two decades, in a harrowing case that intensified scrutiny over misogyny and sexism in the British capital’s police force.

The officer, David Carrick, 47, whose job had included parliamentary and diplomatic protection duties, admitted to 49 charges covering more than 70 instances of serious sexual offending, according to prosecutors and the police. He had already accepted most of the charges in an earlier hearing, but he pleaded guilty in a London court to several more charges on Monday, involving false imprisonment, indecent assault and rape.

Given the number of the crimes and the time they spanned — a 17-year period beginning in 2003 — prosecutors called it one of the most significant such cases ever brought, describing the offenses as “a relentless campaign of sexually and mentally abusing women.”

Mr. Carrick, pictured in an undated police handout. He was arrested in October 2021.Credit…Hertfordshire Police, via Associated Press

Some of Mr. Carrick’s victims, prosecutors said, had been in relationships with him and had been systematically isolated by him from friends and family before he attacked them; others were women he had met socially but did not know so well.

Mr. Carrick was arrested in October 2021 after a woman reported to the police that he had raped her. Other women came forward with allegations of abuse after he was detained.

The Carrick case came amid a crisis of trust in law enforcement in Britain. Anger had swelled after several high-profile crimes had thrust the culture and standards of London’s force, the Metropolitan Police, into the spotlight. They included the killing of Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, by another London police officer in March 2021. After an inquiry by the independent police watchdog, a report released in February 2022 described a “disgraceful” culture of bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment within the force.

The Metropolitan Police on Monday apologized to Mr. Carrick’s victims, calling the officer “a prolific, serial sex offender” who had used his position of authority to control women.

“We should have spotted his pattern of abusive behavior, and because we didn’t, we missed opportunities to remove him from the organization,” Barbara Gray, assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said in a statement on Monday. “We are truly sorry that Carrick was able to continue to use his role as a police officer to prolong the suffering of his victims.”

The force added that it had set up a team of 50 investigators, among other actions, to review allegations of sexual offenses or domestic abuse levied against current police officers and staff members.

“The issue of consent has been fundamental to this case,” Shilpa Shah, a senior prosecutor, said in the statement on Monday.

The testimonies of Mr. Carrick’s victims ultimately provided the crucial evidence, Ms. Shah said, commending them for their “tremendous courage.” Mr. Carrick will be sentenced next month.

Mr. Carrick joined the Metropolitan Police in 2001 and began his career as a response officer in London. Later, he transferred to a unit responsible for safeguarding the Houses of Parliament, foreign embassies and government ministers.

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