Could pervert police officer Luke Horner have been stopped? Force had already investigated cop who went on to assault Rushden teen
A warped police officer who drove from his Buckinghamshire home to have sex with a young teen in Rushden had been previously investigated for sending nude photos to another victim, we can reveal.
PC Luke Horner was last week jailed for six years and four months after Northampton Crown Court heard how he groomed the youngster on the AmiGo app before travelling to Rushden and persuading her to have sex with him in a public place on June 11 this year. He asked her to record the incident on her phone, which was later discovered by her distraught mother who contacted Northamptonshire Police.
The former soldier was arrested while at work at Amersham police station after he was identified as a serving officer with Thames Valley Police.
Arrogant Horner, of Lakeland Drive, Aylesbury, used an easily-traceable version of his own name on his social media profile and travelled to Rushden in his own car – which was caught on ANPR cameras.
Now the Northants Telegraph can report that Horner had been investigated in the months before the offence took place – but was allowed to continue working as an officer following that investigation.
During an early court hearing at which our reporter was present, prosecutors argued that the 24-year-old should be held on remand in prison, and gave details of a previous investigation into the officer.
In that hearing, Northampton Magistrates’ Court heard that in February 2022, Crimestoppers was handed information to suggest that Horner had been sending inappropriate nude photographs to a separate victim.
Officers set up a covert investigation to try to snare Horner, but that resulted in no further intelligence being gained and no further action was taken against Horner.
Their investigation was carried out against the backdrop of growing concern over the conduct of some police officers toward women, including the behaviour of Sarah Everard’s killer Wayne Couzens in the build-up to her murder.
In the end Horner was not granted bail, which District Judge Amar Mehta said was partly for his own protection given the public attitude toward police sex offenders.
On Friday (October 6) our reporter put a series of questions about Horner’s offending to Thames Valley Police. We asked for more details of the February 2022 allegations, and which force was called to investigate them. We also wanted to know at what rank was the decision made to take no further action and whether a referral was made to the IOPC at that point. Our reporter also asked whether Horner was made aware of the original investigation and whether he was questioned over it.
Thames Valley Police declined to confirm or deny the allegations and issued a statement that read: “Following the arrest and subsequent charge of former PC Luke Horner, TVP Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Barber commissioned a review of the force’s activity, through a targeted inspection by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMICFRS). As such we are not in a position to provide further comment while we await the outcome of the review.”
We then approached Mr Barber’s office to ask whether the review would cover previous allegations against Horner. A statement issued by a spokesman read: “Following the charge of former PC Luke Horner in June this year, Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Barber commissioned HMICFRS to undertake a targeted inspection. The inspection brief was to cover Luke Horner’s full employment history as a Thames Valley Police Officer. The findings will be published by the inspectorate in due course."
The independent inspectorate HMICFRS, who are appointed by the crown on the advice of the Home Secretary, confirmed their investigation was taking place and directed this newspaper to the terms of reference of their investigation, which were published without fanfare on their website in July this year.
They said they will consider TVP’s vetting process, and how any adverse information uncovered about Horner during that process was handled. They will also look at communication between the counter-corruption unit and vetting units communicated when considering whether Horner should have continued clearance to work.
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