A jury was unable to reach a verdict in the case of a veteran police officer accused of raping a businesswoman he met on the dating app Bumble the day before.
After nine hours and seventeen minutes of deliberation, the jury at Winchester Crown Court, Hampshire, informed the judge that they were unable to reach a judgment on an allegation of rape.
PC The jury was told that David Longden-Thurgood, 49, of Hampshire Constabulary, a divorced father of three, met the woman, a mother in her 30s, on the dating app Bumble in October 2020.
During the nine-day trial, the court heard that the victim felt “a degree of trust because he was a police officer” and that Longden-Thurgood had told her through text message, “I’ll protect you,” before she welcomed him into her home.
PC In October 2020, David Longden-Thurgood, 49, of the Hampshire Constabulary met the woman on Bumble.
After nine days of deliberation, the jury was released today at Winchester Crown Court.
While at her residence, the 19-year-old police officer allegedly refused to “take no for an answer,” despite the woman’s repeated refusal to engage in sexual activity.
The next day, when the woman challenged the officer through text message, he allegedly stated that it was “very difficult” to spoon someone and then “not have sex” if their contact information was on the app. The male then accused the woman of exaggerating the situation.
Jurors were told that the officer sent her filthy selfies, discussed having sex in his uniform, and told her, “I’m a bit of a rebel off duty” as the couple exchanged sexually explicit communications the day before the crime.
In these, he bragged about his 6ft 1ins height and 17 stone weight, being ‘eight inches’ with a ‘strong sex drive,’ and he assured her, ‘I’ll guard you for life, you’ll be my baby girl, I’ll take care of you.’
After exchanging conversations and sending naked selfies for a day, the woman invited him to her home in Hampshire.
Rebecca Fairbairn, the prosecutor, stated that the woman wanted to get to know the defendant and consented to kissing and some sexual activity, but did not consent to full intercourse and told him repeatedly, “I don’t want sex.”
The 49-year-old officer was overheard by the jury ignoring the business owner’s requests and telling her, “it feels too good, I can’t stop now” after she told him she did not consent.
The 19-year veteran of the Hampshire Constabulary asserted that he would never engage in sexual activity without consent because he was a father of daughters and had dealt with rape victims.
The day following the alleged assault, the lady texted Longden-Thurgood, “I simply kept saying “no, we’re not having sexual relations.”
“I didn’t mind a spoon and a little play, but I think you came here with the intention of having sex, so I might as well stop saying no.”
Longden-Thurgood responded, “Sorry babe, I assumed that, given all the sex talk, that was what we both desired.”
It is really difficult to accept the invitation to spoon in your home after all that conversation and refrain from having sex.
PC Longden-Thurgood, who described himself as a “nice guy with a big heart,” told the jury that he had “misread the situation” but still intended to buy her a drink.
When he asked if they could “just move on” and “try again properly,” she responded, “How do you move on from having nonconsensual sex with someone?”
The 19-year-old police officer advised his claimed victim, “If you don’t want to have sex with someone, don’t say things like…”
He then accused the lady of ‘blowing things out of proportion’ and jurors heard that in the final texts, Longden-Thurgood said that the woman had been ‘loving it’
He also included photos of their sexual conversation from the previous day and cautioned, “Perhaps if you don’t want to have sex with someone, you shouldn’t say things like…”
His last message was, “Do you wish to see me again or not?”
After the encounter, a buddy realized something was amiss and inquired if she was going to notify the police; she responded, “He is the police.”
In his testimony, the officer refuted the allegation that he stated, “It felt too good to stop,” stating, “I have never said that to anyone in my life.”
I’m nearly 50 years old; it’s not like I’m a teenager or someone with little sexual encounters.
I am extremely capable of stopping at any moment.
Longden-Thurgood stated that he was “absolutely certain” that she was pleased with what was occurring and that she was a “willing participant.”
He continued, “Why would I have sexual relations with her if she did not want it?”
If someone requests that I stop, I will stop.
As her WhatsApp conversations were’very explicit,’ the police officer believed she was ‘very interested’ prior to their first meeting.
It became really sexually explicit pretty fast, but it was from both of us, not just me, he stated.
It was a true two-way street.
I was attracted in her nonetheless. The fact that she was quite sexual was a positive in my perspective; it was not a negative trait.
“We had plans to have a drink and watch a movie, and that was all I could think about.”
Considering the communications, I believed there would be [sexual activity] if we liked each other in person.
Judge Richard Parkes KC stated to the jury, “I see no other alternative but to discharge you with a heavy heart.”
He noted that this type of case is “extremely challenging” and that they “gave it their all.”
Judge Parkes said, “Do not blame yourselves for a result over which you have no control.”
The judge ordered that Longden-bail Thurgood’s be extended as the prosecution considers the possibility of a retrial over the next two weeks.