West Mercia Police officer Michael Darbyshire, 57, has been sentenced to 14 years in jail after being found guilty of rape and sexual assaults. The verdict was delivered at Worcester Crown Court (May 12), following a two-week retrial.

Darbyshire was charged with one count of rape and five counts of sexual assault. The offences took place between November 2018 and August 2019 and were reported to the police in November 2019, which led to his arrest later that month. He was formally charged in April 2020 and suspended from duty on 2 December 2019. A previous trial in March 2021 resulted in a hung jury.

Deputy Chief Constable Alex Murray commending the victims for their bravery and patience throughout the investigation. He described the crimes as “abhorrent,” adding that the force would continue to ensure that any member who commits criminal offences faces the courts and disciplinary procedures, in order to maintain public trust. In light of this event, an accelerated misconduct process will now take place.

Victims of sexual assault seeking local support can turn to the Victim Advice Line, a free and confidential service offering advice, practical help, and support to those affected by crime. Reach out via telephone on 0800 952 3000, via email at [email protected] or through live chat on victimadviceline.org.uk.