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PC cleared over sex allegations; OFFICER EXCHANGED OBSCENE TEXTS WITH TRANSVESTITE WHILE ON DUTY.

Byline: RACHEL SMITH ECHO Correspondent

A POLICE officer has been cleared of misconduct after texting a transvestite on duty to arrange sex sessions. PC Christopher Hopkins, 41, a traffic officer with Merseyside Police, broke down in the dock as the jury unanimously found him not guilty of misconduct and sexual assault.

During the 12-day retrial at Preston Crown Court, the married man, 41, maintained he had not neglected his duties as a police officer when he was texting the transvestite called Roxy. A string of obscene messages were read to the jury, outlining sexual plans and urges.

PC Hopkins tearfully confessed that he was struggling with personal difficulties when he trawled the internet searching for sexual hookups and exchanged messages with Roxy.

He said: "I am ashamed and embarrassed by what I have done."

But the jury concluded that he had not neglected his duties because he remained available for duty, responding to calls and prioritising his role as a police officer.

The jury was shown time delays in the messages between PC Hopkins and Roxy of up to half an hour, which his lawyer, Nicholas Clarke QC, said demonstrated he would only engage in the conversation when he was not busy with police duties.

Sgt Julian Adam told the court that PC Hopkins was an "exemplary officer" who had received commendations for his outstanding bravery and dedication to the role.

The court heard that he was awarded a Chief Constable's Commendation after he was the first officer at the scene when a man was holding a hostage at knifepoint.

He had continued to calm the situation after police negotiators arrived as he had gained the trust of the man - who was later sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

On a separate occasion, he saved the life of a man who had been stabbed in the lung, by fashioning a "flutter valve" out of a crisp packet to allow him to continue breathing until paramedics arrived.

PC Hopkins was also cleared of sexually assaulting three women - two of whom were teenagers at the time of the alleged incidents.

The dad of one of the women told the court that the officer had visited his home on numerous occasions to check on his daughter's welfare.

He said: "I had no problems with him at all. He behaved like a police officer doing his duty."

PC Hopkins was suspended from duty over the allegations.

A spokesman for Merseyside Police said: "Hopkins is still suspended and the matter is now being reviewed by the Professional standards department in relation to disciplinary matters."

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PC Christopher Hopkins

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Title Annotation:News; Teasers
Author:RACHEL SMITH ECHO Correspondent
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 30, 2016
Words:433
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