A man who sexually assaulted a woman on Brighton beach has been convicted at court.
Laurence Knight, 34, of Albert Road in Leyton, was a serving Metropolitan Police Sergeant at the time of the offence on 17 July, 2021.
Knight, who was off duty at the time, had been on Brighton beach for his stag party when he and the victim, a woman in her 20s, went for a swim in the sea. He sexually assaulted her while they were in the water.
The woman and Knight had a verbal confrontation which concluded with the stag group leaving the beach, and she reported the incident to the police on the same day. She was supported by specialist officers while an investigation took place.
Twelve days after the offence, on 28 July, 2021, Knight was arrested on suspicion of rape and sexual assault. He was released on conditional bail and suspended from duty by the Metropolitan Police’s Directorate of Professional Standards.
He was subsequently charged with both offences and, at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday (29 June), he was found guilty of sexual assault and not guilty of rape.
Knight has been released on bail, pending sentencing on 28 July, at Southwark Crown Court.
Following conclusion of the criminal proceedings, the Metropolitan Police’s Directorate of Professional Standards has announced that misconduct proceedings will be initiated as soon as possible.
Detective Sergeant Sean Booth, of Sussex Police’s Safeguarding Investigation Unit, said: “This horrific act involved a serving Metropolitan Police officer who, instead of protecting the public, took advantage of a vulnerable woman.
“We extend our gratitude to the victim for her courage in supporting this investigation and helping to bring this individual to justice.
“The public rightfully expects police officers to adhere to the highest standards. Laurence Knight is an offender who has no place in any police force and will now face justice for his crimes.
“Sussex Police will diligently investigate any crime against vulnerable people, bring perpetrators to justice – regardless of their profession - and ensure victims receive the support they need.”