Four cleared over police helicopter sex and nudity footage charges

Updated: 

Two police officers and two pilots accused of using a police helicopter to film naked sunbathers and a couple having sex have been cleared of all charges amid emotional scenes.

Pilots Matthew Loosemore, 45, and Malcolm Reeves, 64, and police officers Lee Walls, 47, and Matthew Lucas, 43, appeared to be in tears as they were found not guilty of misconduct in a public office at Sheffield Crown Court.

Their families cried in the public gallery and hugged each other as the jury foreman read out the verdicts following a three-week trial.

The defendants were all in the South Yorkshire Police helicopter at various times between 2007 and 2012 when another officer, Pc Adrian Pogmore, shot the footage as the aircraft flew over the county.

Pogmore, 51, of Guilthwaite Crescent, Whiston, Rotherham, who was the only person in the aircraft when all four of the offending videos were filmed, had admitted four counts of misconduct in a public office.

He will be sentenced on Tuesday.

But the other men told the jury they did not know what Pogmore - described as "a swinging and sex-obsessed air observer" - was doing as he filmed the sequences using the chopper's high-powered camera.

The jury of six men and six women had been shown footage shot from the aircraft, including an 11-minute sequence clearly featuring a couple having sex on their patio in a range of positions.

At one point in the footage, the naked woman waves at the helicopter.

Pogmore knew the couple through the wife-swapping scene and had even previously had sex with the woman.

The jury was also shown footage shot by Pogmore of a woman sunbathing naked in her large garden with her daughters, who were wearing bikinis. The jury were also played footage of a naked couple on a campsite and another naked couple sunbathing on sun loungers in their garden.

Outside the courtroom, the four men looked relieved as they were embraced by their families.

As Mr Lucas left the courtroom he said "thank you" to the jury.

The court heard Mr Lucas was commended for saving the life of one of the victims of the so-called Edlington incident in 2009.

This was when 10-year-old and 11-year-old brothers attacked two boys, aged nine and 11, in the South Yorkshire village, leaving them for dead.

Captain Reeves and Captain Loosemore both had long military careers before they became police helicopter pilots.

The court heard that Capt Reeves was an RAF flyer and Capt Loosemore flew in the Army.

Capt Loosemore broke down at one point giving evidence in the trial as he explained how he pulled a young boy from a South Yorkshire canal after landing the helicopter, only for him to die later in hospital.

Capt Reeves, of Farfield Avenue, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, was cleared of two counts of misconduct in a public office.

Mr Walls, of Southlands Way, Aston, Sheffield, was cleared of one count.

Capt Loosemore, of Briar Close, Auckley, Doncaster, was cleared of one count.

Mr Lucas, of Coppice Rise, Chapeltown, Sheffield, was cleared of three counts.

Pogmore, who has already been sacked by South Yorkshire Police, will be sentenced on Tuesday.

In a statement, South Yorkshire Police said: "Notwithstanding today's verdicts concerning the four defendants who were acquitted, we will now continue with misconduct proceedings internally against the other South Yorkshire Police officers.

"We cannot comment further at this stage, so as not to prejudice any future misconduct hearings."