‘I was the prey of a predator’: Woman subjected to ‘relentless grooming’ by Met police officer

A woman says a police officer sent her sexual messages while subjecting her to a “relentless campaign” of grooming before going on to stalk her.

Speaking exclusively to The Independent, Ms Y, who has not been identified in the case, said PC Phil Hunter would call her from his bed at night to make sexual comments and ask her out on dates.

She said the ordeal began when Mr Hunter, a Metropolitan Police officer, came to her home to carry out a welfare check in August 2017 after she reported her ex-partner to police for stalking and domestic abuse.

“He was really nice to me,” Ms Y added. “He said ‘I get it, I understand what you are going through’. He gave me his telephone number. He said ‘this is my personal number’. He said ‘we are going to be friends and I am going to look after you’ and he gave me a big hug. I thought he was a nice man. I was beyond vulnerable.”

She said Mr Hunter told her she should not have contact with family or friends over the next three months – insisting he was the only person she could rely on, even telling her not to contact other police officers.

“He said: ‘The police are not arsed, they are not going to protect you. I am the only one who will protect you’. I realise now it was coercive control. My friends told me it was weird at the time,” she recalled.

Ms Y said it later transpired Mr Hunter never logged any of the information she gave him about her domestic abuse case. But he later disclosed the home address of her ex-partner to her, she said.

Ms Y added: “He said to me that he could arrange for police officers to go round and give him a hard time. A sexual relationship with me was Mr Hunter’s goal.

“He sent me kisses, emojis with hearts and flowers. He would tell me how lovely and beautiful I was. He said let’s go for coffee multiple times. He said he would call around with coffee while on duty multiple times.”

She said Mr Hunter then abruptly disappeared at the end of November 2017 and stopped contacting her. Later, in February 2018, professional standards, the department that investigates police officers and staff accused of misconduct, contacted her about an alleged victim of Mr Hunter’s and asked her to give a statement about him.

“I defended him,” Ms Y said. “I was convinced he was lovely. The police downplayed the case hugely. They said they would extradite my own case if I defended him. I gave a statement supporting him.”

She recalled officers told her the Met did not deem Mr Hunter to be a sexual predator and it was only Daily Mail readers who thought police officers to be sexual predators.

But in August 2019, Mr Hunter started contacting her again, at which point she said it was clear he knew “everything” about her.

She said: “He knew where my family lived. He could quote off addresses. Also of friend’s places. It is unclear whether he got it from speaking to colleagues who were dealing with my case or from police computer systems.”

Ms Y reported him to the Metropolitan Police but claims they failed to deal with her complaint properly – adding that she reported him 32 times over a year before they assigned someone to look into the case.

She said she later found out Mr Hunter’s alleged victim had tried to kill herself “because of Hunter’s coercive control”.

Ms Y added: “She is still alive. He was contacting her saying exactly the same things to me at the same time. He disappeared out of my life when he started being investigated for his relationship with the other woman.

“I have nothing but support for the Met but the Met doesn’t want to admit how bad the issue is with predatory police officers.

She has since received an apology from the Met Police for how her case was handled. But she wants Commander Catherine Roper, the first officer she reported Mr Hunter’s behaviour to in 2019, to say sorry to her personally.

Text messages Mr Hunter sent to Ms Y, seen by The Independent, say: “You are a beautiful person” and “You can be as naughty as you like with me”.

In 2020, Mr Hunter was found guilty of gross misconduct for having a sexual relationship with the suicidal woman professional standards contacted Ms Y about. Mr Hunter had been sent to the 38-year-old mother’s home after her brother killed himself.

Mr Hunter retired from the Met Police in July 2019 while he was being investigated and became a licensed black cab driver. He has since had his driving licence revoked.

Ms Y said her allegations against Mr Hunter were not given to the team investigating him over his relationship with the suicidal woman until after the misconduct hearing. On the contrary, the character witness statement she made when she still considered him to be a good man was used at the tribunal as part of his defence case despite her spending nine months trying to revoke the statement.

Commenting on Mr Hunter’s gross misconduct ruling, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Bas Javid, from the Met’s Directorate of Professionalism, said: “There is no place for this kind of behaviour in the Met and it is right that the officer involved would have been dismissed, if he had not already resigned.”

He added: “During the investigation of complaint made by the individual [Ms Y] about the misconduct process we identified that the method of communication with the individual was not properly routed, and this caused delays in information being passed. We rectified this, and did not identify any misconduct from any officers or staff.”

Mr Javid noted the Independent Office for Police Conduct reviewed this and “agreed with our findings”.

In her witness statement to the police, shared with The Independent, Ms Y said: “He was a police officer that had met me during a welfare call when there were concerns for my safety and he used my vulnerability and what had happened to me to try and manipulate me.

“And when he contacted me after he had resigned as a Met Officer he used information he had learnt whilst an officer to continue that behaviour, having no idea if I was still as vulnerable.

“And please imagine how I felt as a stalker victim when a man I had only met twice as a police officer knew so many details about me and my life. I can assure you the answer is terrified. Once again I was the prey of a predator and I can assure you the impact was immeasurable.”

Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.