A police officer who filmed himself having sex with a teenage girl on his mobile phone after grooming her online has been jailed for more than six years.
PC Luke Horner, 24, who is also a former soldier, traveled more than an hour from his home to Rushden, Northamptonshire, to attack the 13-year-old girl he had met online social.
He then sexually assaulted the victim while off duty by engaging in penetrative sexual activity, video footage of which he recorded on his cell phone on June 11.
The girl’s horrified mother then found the film on her daughter’s phone and called police who arrested the Thames Valley Police officer.
Horner, from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, was immediately suspended from his role by TVP and subsequently resigned in July.
Former PC Luke Christopher Horner traveled to Rushden, Northamptonshire, to attack the 13-year-old on June 11.
He then pleaded guilty to one count of penetrative sexual activity with a child aged 13 to 15 at Northampton Crown Court in August.
Today he was sentenced to six years and four months in prison by the same court and he was on the verge of tears when he was sentenced.
Sentencing, His Honor Judge David Herbert KC told Horner he had undermined public confidence in the police.
He said: “This is a totally shameful day for you.
“You are convicted of sexual activity with a 13-year-old child, involving full sexual intercourse.
“This offense is disgraceful for any man, but what’s more, you were a serving police officer.
“When you became a police officer, you would have taken an oath to act with integrity and protect the public.
“You have failed and you have undermined public confidence in the police.
Horner was told that if his victim had been 12 years old, the charges would have been even more serious.
The law states that perpetrators of this type of offense, when the child has reached the age of 13, are charged with sexual activity with a child rather than rape.
During sentencing, the court heard from a relative of the girl who said in his personal statement: “How can I sleep at night knowing what he did?
“How can he? How was he able to go to work, put on his uniform and face his colleagues knowing that he had broken the law?
“My stomach hurts every time I think about it.”
In mitigation, the court heard that Horner had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, had shown remorse for his crime and had no previous convictions.
Detective Sergeant Sarah Osborne of Northamptonshire Police said after the case: “No sentence can make up for what Luke Horner has done, but I hope that the conclusion of this case, and the fact that he will now spending time in prison will provide some small comfort for this young girl’s family.
“I would like to commend them for the trust they have placed in us to investigate this crime and for their support throughout this investigation – something we have never taken for granted.”
“As this young girl’s parent said in his victim impact statement, how could Luke Horner go to work and put on that uniform, knowing what he had done?”
General view of Northampton Crown and County Court
“His behavior and actions go against everything we stand for in policing and it is people like him who we continue to work tirelessly to expose and eliminate for good.”
“I hope this case demonstrates how seriously we take protecting children in this county and that no matter who you are if you commit an offense, we will do everything we can to put you where you belong – behind bars.’
Head of Child Protection for Northamptonshire Police – Detective Chief Inspector Jen Castle said: “We are very pleased to have achieved justice for the child in this case.
“Horner’s conviction also demonstrates a positive outcome for policing.”
“Police officers and staff who think they can break the law have no place in our profession.
“Compliance with the law and maintaining professionalism are our top priorities. »
Thames Valley Police referred the matter to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which decided the matter should be investigated locally by police.
An expedited misconduct meeting took place on September 4, 2023, during which Horner’s behavior was found to constitute serious misconduct.
He would have been dismissed if he was still serving and must be placed on the banned list, meaning he cannot rejoin the force.
Deputy Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police Ben Snuggs said: “We are all appalled by Horner’s behavior, and our thoughts remain with the young girl and her family who have been affected.
“Alongside the criminal investigation, and as soon as Horner’s offending was revealed, Thames Valley Police took decisive action to suspend him, referring the matter to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and launch professional misconduct proceedings.
“No member of our staff is above the law and I hope that the swift action taken by our law enforcement and the courts will go some way to restoring public confidence in the police.”
Following the sentencing, an NSPCC spokesperson said: “As a police officer, Horner had a duty to protect young people and he would have been well aware of the devastating impact that child sexual abuse can have on their victims.
“Despite this, he abused a 13-year-old girl during filming.”