A paedophile who was suspected of child grooming offences joined the police force to target vulnerable victims and went on to rape a 13-year-old girl.
“Selfish and cruel” police constable Ian Naude was warned to expect a significant jail sentence as he was convicted at Liverpool Crown Court on Thursday of raping and sexually assaulting the teenager, who he met while on duty, in the back of his car.
The 30-year-old, of Market Drayton in Shropshire, started working for Cheshire Police in April 2017 – despite being named as a suspect in cases in neighbouring forces in the months leading up to his appointment.
The court heard the internet groomer, who was also found guilty of four charges of attempting to arrange commission of a child sex offence and one charge of arranging commission of a child sex offence, was obsessed with taking the virginity of teenage girls.
He would blackmail and threaten vulnerable victims over social media, persuade them to send pictures of themselves undressed, tell them to call him “daddy” and send them videos of himself masturbating.
Owen Edwards, prosecuting, told the jury Naude, who admitted a further 30 offences including inciting children to engage in sexual activity and misconduct in a public office, joined the force to “gain the keys to a sweet shop”.
Cheshire Police said the father-of-one’s appointment was delayed from January 2017 to April because he was alleged to have raped a woman in Staffordshire.
No further action was taken in the case and Naude was allowed to join – but reports of child grooming in Staffordshire and West Mercia which named him as a suspect in January and February 2017 were not picked up by Cheshire Police until after his arrest in November that year.
The court heard Naude, who previously served in Afghanistan as a machine gunner with the Royal Irish Regiment, was called to a domestic incident at his rape victim’s house in October 2017 and contacted her on Facebook days later.
After exchanging sexual images and messages over social media, he took her out in his car and raped her, filming parts of the assault on his mobile phone, the jury heard.
He claimed the sex was consensual and said the girl “seemed to be enjoying it”.
Police began to investigate after the victim’s family contacted them, but an email revealing the plan to arrest Naude was accidentally sent to him.
When his phone was seized 756 images had been deleted from it.
Other devices, including a laptop and another phone, were later discovered in a field in Market Drayton after he gave a hand-drawn map of their location to his cellmate.
The court was told the student officer, based at Crewe police station, would gain the trust of young girls by posing on social media as a 15-year-old boy called Jake Green.
He also had an account under the name of Bruce Ian Wayne, an apparent reference to the superhero Batman, and a Snapchat account named King Of The North.
Recorder of Liverpool Judge Clement Goldstone QC adjourned the sentencing to December 13 to allow a report on Naude to be prepared.