August 2003

Pc jailed for underage sex

A serving Hampshire police officer has been jailed for six months for indecently assaulting a 15-year-old girl whom he met when she did work experience at his station.

Steven Cottrell, 37, now of Stourbridge, West Midlands, but formerly of Isle of Wight, was convicted at the end of a two-week retrial at Lewes Crown Court in East Sussex, after the original jury failed to reach a verdict.

Jurors heard how Pc Cottrell met the girl when she did a work experience placement at Eastleigh police station in Hampshire.

The pair exchanged telephone numbers and he had sex with her on two occasions after the work placement in 1999.

Pc Cottrell now faces a disciplinary hearing with senior Hampshire police officers.

Sexual urges

Judge Anthony Scott-Gall told Cottrell he had ended up on the wrong side of the law after failing to control his sexual urges.

He also faced six charges of indecent assault against two girls aged 13 and 14 whom he met while investigating a burglary at one of their homes.

The jury cleared him of two and the judge directed not guilty verdicts on the remaining four after the jury failed to reach a decision.

The judge also ordered not guilty verdicts to a further charge of indecent assault against the work experience girl and one of perverting the course of justice by allegedly asking her to withdraw her statement.

Cottrell has been ordered to sign the sex offenders register for the next seven years and disqualified from working with children.

PC Cottrell spent much of his service on the IW, where he had a house. He started at Ryde in September 1992 before being transferred to Shanklin in January 1996.

He was again transferred in March 1997 to Shirley, Southampton, and subsequently Eastleigh in early 2001.

Born in Birmingham, Cottrell moved with his family to the Island when he was 15.

He attended schools on the Island and had various jobs, including training as a waiter and store manager.