WOMEN who were raped and sexually abused by a perverted police officer have been told: “You won’t get a penny in compensation”.
The victims, including a Sunderland woman, were all targeted by PC Stephen Mitchell because they were drug addicts who could be made to do what he wanted.
The 42-year-old officer was jailed for life last year after Newcastle Crown Court heard he preyed on at least 16 women and teenage girls.
Mitchell told the prisoners he could get them off charges and even gave them drugs in return for having sex with him in his squad car and interview rooms at a police station.
The women, aged 17 to 48, were forced to relive their ordeal during a five-week trial at Newcastle Crown Court.
Mitchell claimed they were all lying but he was convicted of two rapes, three indecent assaults and six charges of misconduct in public office.
Many of the women have since made claims to the Government’s Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) but have now been told they will not get compensation because they have criminal records.
CICA, run by the Ministry of Justice , can pay out up to £500,000 for a victim who has been paralysed.
Rape victims usually receive £11,000, unless they have suffered severe injuries in the attack.
The decision to deny payments to Mitchell’s victims has been slammed.
Clare Phillipson is the director of Wearside Women In Need, a Sunderland-based charity which helps victims of rape and domestic violence.
She said she had fought similar decisions for rape victims and had won after a difficult struggle against bureaucracy.
She said: “It’s absolutely outrageous but I have come across this before.
“I’d urge them to appeal and to contact their MPs to help fight their case.
“They are not violent criminals who have gone round beating people up. They may have even become addicts because they have suffered traumatic experiences early in their lives.
“They are victims. The offences he committed were at the worst end of the scale because they involved a serious breach of trust and a massive abuse of power.
“The criminal injuries compensation system needs changing. It can be a real labyrinth.”
A spokesman for the CICA said: “We do not comment on individual cases.
“A claim for compensation can be declined or an award reduced for a number of reasons including if a person has unspent criminal convictions.”
It is understood many of the victims are also taking legal action against Northumbria Police, although no payments have yet been made by the force.
A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: “Stephen Mitchell was convicted of horrendous crimes and we unreservedly apologise to his victims. However, this is a matter for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.”