Jury in the trial of police officer accused of raping woman fail to reach verdict

Jimmy Nsubuga
·2 min read
Michael Darbyshire, 52, arriving at Worcester Crown Court.(SWNS)
Michael Darbyshire, 52, arriving at Worcester Crown Court. (SWNS)

A jury in the trial of a police officer accused of raping a woman and sexually assaulting another he met on a dating website has been discharged after failing to reach a verdict.

Michael Darbyshire, 55, had gone on trial charged with one count of rape and five counts of sexual assault at Worcester Crown Court.

The West Mercia Police officer had been accused of attacking both women to demonstrate "control, power and to satisfy his own sexual cravings."

On Wednesday, the jury failed to reach a majority verdict following seven hours and 38 minutes of deliberations.

Judge James Burbidge QC discharged the jury and ordered a retrial to be held at the same court on 28 February next year.

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The White Hart pub in Fernhill Heath, Worcester.  24/03/2021.  See SWNS story SWMDcop.  The trial of a police officer who denies raping and sexually assaulting two women is set to begin today.  Michael Darbyshire, who was based at Worcester Police Station, appeared at the city's crown court last August and entered the not guilty pleas.  The 52-year-old is charged with rape and five counts of sexual assault dating back to November 2018.  The charges allege that he sexually assaulted two women. The first count, of sexual assault by touching, is said to have happened on November 18, 2018.  The following two charges of sexual assault are alleged to have happened on November 9 that year.  He is also accused of raping a woman on the same day.  The remaining counts are both alleged to have happened on August 29, last year, and relate to sexual assault by touching.  The allegations are said to have taken place in Worcestershire and Coventry.
The White Hart pub in Fernhill Heath, Worcester. (SWNS)

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A court heard the first alleged victim claimed to have been molested in the beer garden of the White Hart pub in Fernhill Heath, Worcestershire, before being raped back at her home where he "stripped completely naked".

A second victim said she was attacked after agreeing to meet up with him over dating website Match.com.

Former army veteran Darbyshire denied the allegations and claimed both women had fully consented to sexual activity with him during the seven-day trial.

Darbyshire was granted bail until and told by the judge: "Mr Darbyshire the jury were unable to agree upon the verdict.

"As a result of that I have discharged them from returning verdicts in this case.

"It is customary for the prosecution to seek to retrial someone where the jury has not returned a verdict on issues in the case.

"The Crown will now consider their position at the moment they are minded to try you again."