A serving police officer who took a photograph of an 18-year-old woman’s breasts and sent it to his friend as a ‘joke’, a court heard.
PC Paul Hinchcliffe’s victim said the picture of her chest left her so ‘self-conscious’ that she had a boob job.
Hinchcliffe, 46, denied the charge of sexual assault and claimed the woman ‘consented’ to the photograph, which he took on a work’s night out in October 2020 in Rotherham.
But the South Yorkshire Police officer was today found guilty of sexual assault by a jury after a trial at Leeds Crown Court.
During the trial, jurors heard the incident took place during a work social event in a pub, where Hinchcliffe had first ‘simulated ejaculation’ by flicking beer foam on her chest.
And after taking a photo of the woman’s face on his mobile phone and saying he was ‘going to have a w*nk’ to it, he went on to pull open her top and photograph her breasts, the court heard.
Later, when the woman returned home and was ‘reduced to tears’ following his advances, Hinchliffe texted her saying: ‘God I’d do you, is that bad?’
The jury heard a police interview where the woman said she had chosen to go ahead with a ‘boob job’ knowing the photo of her chest was ‘circulating’.
She said: ‘I was like so conscious of obviously the fact that people have been viewing a photo. To know there was a photo, that’s obviously kicked me into doing that so soon.
‘I’d had a telephone appointment but I think I ended up getting a car on finance instead so it just got put to bed because I couldn’t afford it.
‘It’s something I have always been self-conscious about but I think after this and knowing that there was a photo circulating – it’s quite embarrassing – I think that encouraged me more to have it so soon.’
Judge Mairs told Hinchcliffe: ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do with you.’
The incident unfolded when Hinchcliffe was drinking in a pub in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, in October 2020, with three other members of the force.
During his cross-examination, Hinchcliffe said he sent the photo to a pal called ‘Ian’ as it was ‘funny’, adding the snap should be viewed within the ‘context’ of the evening.
He said: ‘You have to put the photo in the context of when it was taken. I don’t think it was sexual.
‘I took the photo to send to Ian because he said ‘Keep me updated with things’. I thought it was funny, he would find it funny.’
Jurors were told that when the woman later returned home, Hinchliffe sent her a text saying, ‘God I’d do you, is that bad?’ to which the woman replied: ‘Yeah it is.’
He also sent her a message which was accompanied by a series of emojis that she took to represent masturbation.
Speaking about the message, Hinchcliffe said: ‘I wasn’t saying I was masturbating, which is a ridiculous thing in my mind anyway. I was saying she looked nice in the picture.
‘When I sent the message to my friend before, it was funny, and I just meant she looked pretty. I was drunk.
‘I didn’t fancy her. She was less than half my age.’
When Hinchcliffe was interviewed in April last year, his solicitor made a prepared statement saying the victim had consented to him taking the photo of her.
He has been suspended from duties while an internal misconduct investigation is on hold pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings.
He will be sentenced before the same court following a probation report.
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