Merseyside police officer who had sex with vulnerable women jailed

Ben Murphy Image copyright Merseyside Police
Image caption Ben Murphy manipulated one victim "for his own sexual agenda" the court heard

A "manipulative" police officer who "preyed" on vulnerable women to have sex with them has been jailed.

Ben Murphy, from Southport, admitted stopping women for alleged speeding offences before giving them tickets for lesser offences to gain their trust.

The 36-year-old then used social media to research his victims before using police records to contact them, sending one woman an image of his genitals.

He was jailed for 28 months at Liverpool Crown Court.

Former Merseyside traffic officer Murphy, of Liverpool Road, Birkdale, resigned in May after more than 13 year in the force but was officially sacked at a fast-track hearing earlier this month.

He pleaded guilty to 10 offences of misconduct in public office and one offence of sending an inappropriate message.

The court heard he duped his way into the lives of vulnerable women he met through his job - ending up in sexual relationships with two of them and sending another woman an indecent photograph.

Trevor Parry-Jones, prosecuting, said the women Murphy formed sexual relationships with were both particularly vulnerable having both recently lost their partners.

In a statement, one described him as "predatory" and said he "manipulated me for his own sexual agenda".

'Betrayed your badge'

He also targeted eight other women who he stopped for alleged speeding offences and then told them he would instead "ticket" them for not wearing seat belts - even though they had been.

The court heard he used police documentation to get their contact details and try to form relationships with them.

But he was caught when a nurse he texted in November 2017 contacted her MP and police launched an investigation.

His barrister Richard Orme said Murphy had various problems including his five-year-old daughter being diagnosed with a serious incurable illness, while a psychological report spoke of "self-sabotaging" behaviour.

Judge David Aubrey QC told Murphy he had been "preying on the vulnerable" with "a gross breach of trust".

"You betrayed your badge," he said.

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