By: Mohnish Singh
In a shocking case that has dominated headlines in the UK, an Indian-origin judge on Tuesday handed down 36 life sentences to a serial rapist convicted of violent and brutal sexual offences against a dozen women over a 17-year period as a Scotland Yard police officer.
Justice Parmjit Kaur “Bobbie” Cheema-Grubb, presiding over the sentencing hearing at Southwark Crown Court in London, ordered David Carrick to serve a minimum of 30 years behind bars before being considered for parole.
She told the 48-year-old Metropolitan Police ex-officer that he had shown an “astonishing degree of moral corruption” and praised his victims’ courage for coming forward.
“These convictions represent a spectacular downfall for a man charged with upholding the law and empowered to do so even to the extent of being authorised to bear a firearm in the execution of his duty,” said Justice Cheema-Grubb.
“Behind a public appearance of propriety and trustworthiness, you took monstrous advantage of women drawn into intimate relationships with you. You brazenly raped and sexually assaulted many women, some you barely knew. You behaved as if you were untouchable. You were bold and at times relentless, trusting that no victim would overcome her shame and fear to report you,” she said.
“It is remarkable that with one woman being driven to report an allegation against you, despite your position and power, others felt able to act. Even today, courage calls to courage everywhere and its voice cannot be denied,” she added.
UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman issued a statement after the sentencing hearing to say Carrick’s crimes were a “scar” on the police force.
“It is vital we uncover how he was able to wear the uniform for so long,” the Indian-origin minister said.
“I pay tribute to the brave women who have come forward to hold him to account for his vile abuse,” she said.
During sentencing, it emerged that Carrick was moved to a hospital while in custody after carrying out a “committed attempt” to kill himself. The judge described the suicide attempt as a “self-pitying reaction” to the “shame” he felt from the court proceedings against him.
Carrick had pleaded guilty to 49 offences against 12 women including 24 counts of rape and further counts of controlling and coercive behaviour, sexual assault and false imprisonment. He was sacked from the Met Police last month after the allegations first emerged.
“David Carrick’s crimes were unspeakably evil. The detail is harrowing. He subjected these victims and survivors to the most degrading and inhumane treatment and yet they still showed the courage to come forward and to provide the evidence that led to his conviction,” said Met Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley.
“He exploited his position as a police officer in the most disgusting way. He should not have been a police officer. We weren’t rigorous enough in our approach and as a result we missed opportunities to identify the warning signs over decades. I want to again reiterate my apology on behalf of the Met. We are truly sorry,” he said.
The police admitted that such cases had “profoundly shaken” women’s trust in Britain’s largest and most prominent police force and pledged to put things right.
“Addressing systemic failures will take time, but we will be determined and relentless in rooting out the corrupt. Lifting the stone and confronting what we find beneath, will result in more difficult cases coming to light. We need the support of Londoners to get through it,” he added.
During the two-day hearing which concluded on Tuesday, the court heard statements from victims as they described how they had “encountered evil” as he used a gun and whip against them.
Carrick’s crimes include multiple rape and sexual offences spanning 2003 to 2020, mostly committed in Hertfordshire region of England where he lived. They all took place while he was a serving police officer.
“This should never have been allowed to happen and must never happen again. There can be no hiding place for those who abuse their position of trust and authority within the police,” said London Mayor Sadiq Khan.