Ex-officer jailed for helping Peterborough sex offender evade police

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A former police officer who was sacked for knowingly being in a relationship with a registered sex offender has been jailed for helping him evade police.

Tara Woodley (34) was dismissed from her position as a police constable with Cambridgeshire Constabulary in December 2016 after she was found to have breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour around discreditable conduct.

Shaun Fox

Shaun Fox

In April 2018 a wanted appeal was issued for 36-year-old Shaun Fox, Woodley’s partner, after police received allegations he had committed further sexual offences and breached his sex offender notification requirements.

Officers had been told the registered sex offender had incited a child to engage in sexual activity, as well as leaving his registered home address and failing to update the police as to his whereabouts.

Despite several public appeals to locate Fox and five visits to Woodley’s home in Werrington, Peterborough, he remained outstanding for four months.

On each visit to her home, Woodley denied knowing where Fox was and told officers she hadn’t heard from him. On one occasion she went as far as to say she thought he may have killed himself because of the nationwide public appeal to find him.

On August 1 officers obtained a warrant to search Woodley’s home address where they found Fox hiding inside a wardrobe naked, with a kitchen knife and a mobile phone. Both Fox and Woodley were arrested.

In interview, Woodley told officers whenever someone knocked on her front door Fox would get straight in her wardrobe before she answered the door.

After being shown CCTV footage of her buying a mobile phone in Queensgate Shopping Centre, Woodley admitted this was her and that Fox had pressured her into buying it for him to use while he was hiding from police. The receipt and box were for the same phone found with Fox at his time of arrest.

Woodley was charged with assisting an offender, while Fox was charged with inciting a child under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity, two counts of failing to comply with notification requirements of the Sex Offenders Register and four counts of breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).

On January 28, Fox appeared at Peterborough Crown Court and was sentenced to a total of five years in prison, extended for four years on licence.

His existing Sexual Harm Prevention Order has been amended to prevent him from having any contact with a female under 16 and he has also been made subject of a 10 year restraining order against the victim and members of her family.

Woodley appeared at Peterborough Crown Court today (Friday) after admitting the charge against her at a previous hearing. She was sentenced to four months in prison.

Detective Sergeant Paul Stimpson, from the north Public Protection Unit, said: “My team and I continuously work in an environment of managing constant risk, having to deal with the most divisive, manipulative and dangerous offenders within our community.

“The sentencing reflects the severity of Fox’s offending and highlights the continuous threat he poses to young people.”