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Police sergeant sentenced to two years in prison over sexual assault in the sea

|News, Sexual offences

A Metropolitan Police sergeant has been sentenced to two years in prison after sexually assaulting a woman in the sea off Brighton seafront on his stag night.

Laurence Knight, 34, had been with his friends celebrating his stag do in July 2021. The group had been staying in an AirBnB and were visited by strippers earlier in the evening, before heading out to town to go to some bars and continue with the celebration.

Due to social distancing, many bars were either not open or had closed early. Knight had been complaining that his stag do was not turning out to be the fun night that he had been hoping for, when he bumped into his victim and her friend.

The jury at Southwark Crown Court heard that the victim had kindly offered to show the group the way to some bars that were open on the beachfront.

In police interview the victim spoke about how Knight then persuaded her to go into the sea with him, before assaulting her. During the attack she repeatedly asked him what was he doing and told him to stop. He did not. 

Following a trial at Southwark Crown Court in June, Knight was convicted of sexual assault.

Jayne Cioffi from the CPS said: “As a police officer, Laurence Knight clearly understood the concept of consent and realised that, without consent, he would be committing a sexual assault, but set what he knew aside for his own selfish reasons.

“He persuaded his victim to go into the water with him and then callously took advantage of a woman he had just met.

“It was immediately clear to her friend as soon as she came out of the sea that something terrible had happened. She called the police immediately and, when officers arrived at the scene, they found her crying and hyper ventilating.

“Knight said he had just wanted a bit of last minute ‘fun’ on his stag night but his actions have had a devastating impact on his victim, and as a police officer, he would have been only too well aware of that. 

“I would like to thank the complainant for reporting what had happened to her. The CPS is committed to bringing sexual offenders to justice no matter who they are.”

Notes to editors

  • Laurence Knight [15/10/1988] was convicted of sexual assault following a trial at Southwark Crown Court
  • Jayne Cioffi is a Senior Crown Prosecutor with CPS South East.  

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