Man jailed after false allegation of sexual assault by officer

A man who admitted making a false allegation about being sexually assaulted by a police officer has been jailed.

Mar 5, 2024
By Paul Jacques
Gary Marston

The officer said the “vile allegation” had followed the family around like a “dark cloud”.

Gary Marston, 52, had been stopped by Cambridgeshire Constabulary on the evening of August 19, 2022, in Old North Road, Stilton, after officers received a report about him drink-driving.

Marston was asked to complete a routine roadside breath test but refused, saying he would not do a roadside test and would rather be arrested and take a test in custody.

He was arrested for failing to provide a sample of breath and became agitated and lashed out, resulting in him being restrained until he was able to be transported to custody.

While in custody at Thorpe Wood police station in Peterborough, Marston gave a negative reading on a breath test and was then released from custody with no further action being taken in relation to the allegation of drink-driving.

An hour after being released, Marston called police asking for one of the attending officers to be arrested, claiming that while he was being restrained, one of the PCs placed his hand inside Marston’s shorts and sexually assaulted him.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary said a crime was immediately raised and a criminal investigation commenced, with a report being made to the force’s Professional Standards Department.

After an extensive review of body-worn video footage and gathering statements from all those present, it was evidenced that the officer’s hands were above shoulder height throughout restraining Marston and no offence had taken place.

On January 11, last year, Marston was interviewed in relation to perverting the course of justice by making a false claim of sexual assault. Throughout interview he confirmed he understood the severity of the allegation against him but stood by his account, before answering “no comment” to all questions asked.

Marston, of Oak Farm Close, Stilton, appeared at Peterborough Crown Court on Friday (March 1) where he admitted perverting the course of justice, namely making a false allegation of sexual assault. On Tuesday (March 5), he was sentenced to 15 months in prison.

Chief Constable Nick Dean said: “Police officers do a difficult job, and it is accepted that allegations will be made where we have not given the level of service that members of the public expect, and we should rightly deliver. However, this case highlights very clearly that officers and staff are ‘people’ behind the uniform.

“The impact upon families and colleagues cannot be lost on anyone when such false allegations are made and, in this case, a criminal conviction for perverting the course of justice resulted. I cannot begin to imagine the impact on the officer personally and across their family.

“The officer did nothing wrong, yet this case will live with them for a long period of time. Investigations of such a nature take time to conclude but it cannot be right that someone who blatantly lied from the very start should be able to have this effect on one of my officers.”

The officer in question, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “This vile, false allegation came as a shock. I am comfortable managing high-stress situations, however, an allegation of this type has far reaching and hugely stressful consequences.

“Over recent years, several despicable officers across the country have been convicted of serious sexual assaults. They have been imprisoned, rightly lost their jobs and have been responsible for their lives and the lives of their victims being irreparably damaged.

“The shadow of a sex offence conviction often will follow an individual, regardless of profession, for life. As a police officer, I have seen this time and time again through my career. I have also seen the consequences of corrupt officers being convicted of criminal acts and how the judicial system rightly penalises them heavily.

“Irrespective of the fact that I knew full well I did not commit such an act, I understand the allegation needed to be fully investigated, however, the stress this imposed on both me and my family followed us around like a dark cloud.

“I have worked diligently, without complaint and without ever having been found to be anything other than a well conducted officer for the entirety of my career to date – and then I am falsely accused of a serious sexual offence by a man whose seemingly only motivation for such Machiavellian behaviour is to argue his way out of a relatively minor offence at court.

“This man has placed me unduly and selfishly at risk of losing everything I have worked for in my life and career. Had clear and irrefutable body-worn footage not been available I could have found myself being suspended, questioned, subjected to degrading recovery of samples, not to mention the damage to my professional reputation. I could have lost my job, my home, my family, for what? For a man who couldn’t control his temper because he was aggrieved the police had arrested him.

“Marston gave no thought to the possible consequences of his actions against me or the other officers at that incident. In a petty and selfish way, he set out to damage permanently my good reputation, my career, my livelihood, my family, my children and ultimately my freedom, knowing full well that I had committed no such act against him.”

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