Pervert police officer Luke Horner jailed for more than six years after meeting Rushden teen to sexually exploit her
A police officer who groomed a 13-year-old from Rushden before meeting her to film his sexual exploitation of her has been sent to jail for more than six years.
PC Luke Horner was told by His Honour Judge David Herbert KC at this afternoon’s (Friday, October 6) sentencing hearing that he had undermined the public’s confidence in the police.
The court heard how Horner, who resigned from his job with Thames Valley Police following the incident, groomed the girl on social media over a short period, and in June this year, travelled from his home in Lakeland Drive, Aylesbury, to meet her in Rushden.
The pair ‘agreed’ to have sexual intercourse and to film it.
The girl’s horrified mother later found the film on her daughter’s phone and called police who arrested Horner, 24.
He appeared at Northampton Crown Court for sentencing today, wearing a grey suit and blue tie and looking close to tears.
Sentencing the former soldier, Judge Herbert said: “This is an utterly shameful day for you.
"You are being sentenced for sexual activity with a child who was 13 which involved full intercourse.
"This offending is disgraceful for any man but further to that you were a serving police officer. When you became a police officer you would have taken an oath to act with integrity and protect the public.
"You have failed, and undermined the public’s confidence in the police.”
Horner was told that, had his victim been 12, the charges would have been even more serious. The law dictates that perpetrators of this type of offence, where the child has reached the age of 13, are charged with sexual activity with a child rather than rape.
In mitigation, the court heard that Horner had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity, had shown some remorse for his crime and had no previous convictions.
He was given six years and four months in jail and was told he will serve half of it before being eligible for release on licence.
He was also made the subject of an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.
During sentencing, the court heard from a relative of the young girl who said in her victim personal statement: “How can I sleep at night knowing what he did? How can he? How did he go into work, put on his uniform and face his colleagues knowing he had broken the law? I feel sick to my stomach every time I think about it.”
Lead Investigator, Detective Sergeant Sarah Osborne from Northamptonshire Police, said: “No sentence can make up for what Luke Horner has done but I hope the conclusion of this case, and the fact that he is now going to spend time in prison, provides some small comfort to the family of this young girl.
“I want to commend them for the trust they put in us to investigate this crime and for their support throughout – neither of which we have ever taken for granted.
“As the relative of this young girl said in her victim impact statement – how could Luke Horner go into work and put on that uniform, all the while knowing what he had done?
“His behaviour and his actions go against everything we stand for within policing and it is people like him that we continue to work relentlessly to expose and to remove for good.
"I hope this case demonstrates just how seriously we take the protection of children in this county and that it doesn’t matter who you are if you commit an offence, we will do everything we can to put you where you where you belong – behind bars.”
Head of Child Safeguarding for Northamptonshire Police - Detective Chief Inspector Jen Castle said: “We are so pleased to have secured justice for the child in this case.
“Horner’s conviction and sentencing also demonstrates a positive outcome for policing.
“Police officers and staff who think they can break the law have no place in our profession. Upholding the law and maintaining professionalism are our top priorities.”
Following the sentencing, an NSPCC spokesperson said: “As a police officer it was Horner’s duty to protect young people and he would have been well aware of the devastating impact that child sexual abuse can have on its victims. Despite this, he inflicted abuse on a 13-year-old girl, while filming it.
“The NSPCC Helpline is available for advice and support for adults, who have experienced sexual abuse as a child or for those concerned about a child’s welfare or safety, at [email protected]. Children can contact Childline at any time of the day or night on 0800 1111 or childline.org.uk.”