Police sergeant cleared of raping woman at her home

Police sergeant David Stansbury outside Bristol Crown Court
Sgt David Stansbury outside Bristol Crown Court - BEN BIRCHALL/PA

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, was acquitted by a unanimous jury.

Sgt Stansbury, of Ilminster, Somerset, denied three counts of rape between Oct 23 and Nov 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. He was emotional as he left the courtroom.

Judge William Hart said: “Mr Stansbury, you are discharged, you are free to leave the dock.”

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

Artist's impression of Sgt David Stansbury in court
Artist's impression of Sgt David Stansbury in court - Elizabeth Cook/PA

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.

‘A complete lie’

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

During his evidence to the court, he said his accuser had “told a complete lie that’s completely ruined my life”.

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.”

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