Comedian's daughter takes action against the Met after detective sergeant called her 'hot'
- Credit: PA
A woman is taking legal action against the Metropolitan Police for not sacking a former Camden officer who told her she was “amazingly hot” while investigating her attack.
DCI James Mason sent Kristina O’Connor, now 33, numerous inappropriate messages after he responded to her report of an attempted robbery in October 2011 at Kentish Town police station.
The officer asked her out to dinner while taking her statement about the incident, in which she was assaulted by a group of men trying to steal her phone.
DCI Mason, who went on to work alongside Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick, sent Ms O’Connor a series of personal emails including one telling her she was “amazingly hot”.
Ms O’Connor, the daughter of late comedian Des O’Connor, said: “I no longer trust the police. I feel that I am as likely to be abused by a police officer as I am by anyone else and perhaps even more likely, as I’ve seen that police officers can harm people with impunity.
“I am fearful of having to call or depend upon the police.”
The Met has confirmed he remains a serving officer.
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“I feel appalled that the officer in question is still serving… I question what it takes for an officer to be dismissed. It makes a mockery of the misconduct process that he continues to serve,” Ms O’Connor said.
Lawyers for Ms O’Connor are arguing that the force “failed to properly investigate” the complaint as a case of gender discrimination.
They are seeking a judicial review of how the investigation was handled.
Nancy Collins, a solicitor at Hodge Jones and Allen, said the case pointed to “more than just a rotten apple” within the police force.
Speaking to the PA news agency, she said: “(Ms O’Connor) was subjected to this terrible misogynistic culture which meant that she suffered this abuse by the officer investigating her crime.
“When she then decided to step forward and complain about this, the Met, I think because the culture of misogyny is so deep-rooted, failed to recognise that her complaint had raised issues of sex discrimination and, we say, didn’t adequately investigate it.”
When Ms O’Connor attended the misconduct hearing, she “wasn’t kept informed” and was left waiting in the building after the panel had gone home having reached its decision, Ms Collins said.
“She felt very excluded from the process. She wasn’t kept informed. In fact the panel went home having reached a conclusion. Nobody told Kristina it had gone home, so she was waiting in the building.
“So that experience for her was pretty traumatic.”
Ms O’Connor said: “My experience of the misconduct hearing was terrible. There was a complete lack of care and support for me as a victim.”
A Met spokesperson said: “We recognise there is a need for real change in the Met. We are committed to creating an environment that is intolerant to those who do not uphold the high values and standards expected of us.”
They added: “Any victim of crime should have the confidence and trust to come to police to receive the support and professionalism they rightfully expect.
“Where this does not happen, we want to know about it so any learning and, if appropriate, disciplinary action can be taken.”
The force confirmed it was aware of the judicial review but said it was not prepared to discuss the case further.
The Independent Office for Police Misconduct (IOPC), which is listed as an interested party in the case, said Ms O’Connor had not appealed when it decided the case should be investigated as gross misconduct.
The watchdog said it made this call “based on the information provided” to it by officers who conducted the initial inquiries into the complaint.
A spokesman for the IOPC said: “The IOPC agrees there is serious public concern about abuse of position by police officers for the purposes of sexual gain, which should be taken into account when assessing the degree to which confidence in policing may have been undermined and the appropriate sanction.”