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Police officer found not guilty in rape trial

Serving police officer David Stansbury, 43, of Ilminster, has been found not guilty of raping a woman at her home in Plymouth.

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A police officer has been found not guilty of raping a woman at her home.

David Stansbury, 43, who was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in her home in Plymouth, Devon, was acquitted by a unanimous jury.

Sergeant Stansbury, of Ilminster, Somerset, denied three counts of rape between October 23 and November 30 2009, in a trial that lasted three weeks.

He was found not guilty of the charges on Wednesday after a jury deliberated for six hours and 48 minutes.

Sgt Stansbury was emotional as he left the courtroom.

David Stansbury court case
David Stansbury arriving at Bristol Crown Court, where he had been charged with three counts of rape (Ben Birchall/PA)

The judge thanked the jury for their time calling it a “demanding and tense trial for everybody concerned”.

Bristol Crown Court had heard that Sgt Stansbury, who was an officer with Devon and Cornwall Police at the time, had been called to the woman’s address and took her statement after a suspect had tried to smash her door in.

The alleged victim said he returned to her home in the days following her original 999 call when she was drunk and had drugs in her home.

The allegations against Sgt Stansbury were made when the woman was in the back of a police van after being arrested at a disturbance in 2020 and told the officers she had been assaulted.

She told the officers she did not go to the police earlier because she was afraid that as a drug and alcohol user, her family would be taken away.

Sgt Stansbury told the court that he did not rape the woman and insisted he does not remember her or the attempted break-in at her home.

David Stansbury court case
David Stansbury told the court that his accuser has ‘told a complete lie that’s completely ruined my life’ (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Jim Pearce, assistant chief constable at Devon and Cornwall police, said: “We note the verdicts from the court today and the acquittal of David Stansbury following reports of rape.

“We do not underestimate how difficult this matter has been for all of those involved in this case.”

Sgt Stansbury now serves with Hertfordshire Police but is currently suspended from duty.

A Hertfordshire Police spokesman said Sgt Stansbury is currently subject to a gross misconduct investigation, which has been “proceeding sub-judice” while the criminal elements of the case have been dealt with.

The investigation will also take into account any matters that have come to light during the criminal proceedings.

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