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Policeman from Harold Wood cleared of raping schoolgirl

PUBLISHED: 16:37 18 January 2016 | UPDATED: 14:40 19 January 2016

Snaresbrook Crown Court. Picture: John Stillwell/PA

Snaresbrook Crown Court. Picture: John Stillwell/PA

PA Archive/Press Association Images

A police officer who admitted having consensual sex with a Redbridge schoolgirl has been cleared of rape.

Jurors at Snaresbrook Crown Court today found Pc John Wigglesworth, 46, of The Ridgeway, Harold Wood, not guilty on three counts of rape, covering a two year period from 2007.

He was cleared of two counts of engaging in sexual activity with a child, which covered the alleged two year period.

Last week, he pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in sexual activity with a child, covering the one occasion he admitted having consensual sex with the claimant, when she was 14.

Mr Wigglesworth was arrested at his home in August, last year, after his alleged victim – now 22 – claimed the officer, who worked in Tower Hamlets, contacted her through website Netlog in 2007 and raped her repeatedly over two years.

She claimed Mr Wigglesworth, who has since been suspended by Metropolitan Police, would pick her up after school at least once a week, take her to his home in Lynnett Road, Dagenham, and rape her.

The policeman, who admitted he messaged and met up with the girl, told jurors the pair “just kissed and cuddled” on their first encounter and had consensual sex once on their second and final meeting.

“You thought it would be alright to take this 14-year-old girl back to your home?,” asked Sally Fudge, prosecuting last week.

Mr Wigglesworth, a police officer of 18 years, replied: “She was happy to go back with me, I didn’t see a problem.”

“So it was just going to be the two of you? You didn’t you see a problem?” asked Ms Fudge.

“No,” replied Mr Wigglesworth. “We were just going to talk – no other intentions.”

Reflecting on his “friendship” with the alleged victim, he said: “It’s a stupid thing to start, I should never even thought about it – talking to someone her age. I realised this was wrong, that’s when I did my best to distance myself.”

During his police interview, which was shown to jurors, he said he “might be a weirdo” but insisted he would never “force himself” on anyone.

Mr Wigglesworth, who has been granted bail, is to be sentenced on Tuesday, February 23.

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