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Ex-metropolitan police sergeant jailed for two years for sexual assault on Brighton beach

Laurence Knight, aged 34 and residing on Albert Road in Leyton, has been sentenced to two years in prison for sexually assaulting a woman on Brighton beach. At the time of the incident on 17 July 2021, Knight was an active Metropolitan Police Sergeant.

On that day, Knight was off duty and celebrating his stag party at Brighton beach when he and the victim, a woman in her 20s, decided to go for a swim in the sea. During this time, he sexually assaulted her in the water. After a verbal confrontation between the woman and Knight’s stag group, the group left the beach. The victim reported the assault to the police on the same day and received support from specialized officers throughout the investigation.

Twelve days later, on 28 July 2021, Knight was arrested on suspicion of rape and sexual assault. He was released on conditional bail and suspended from duty by the Metropolitan Police’s Directorate of Professional Standards. Following the legal proceedings, Knight was found guilty of sexual assault but not guilty of rape during the trial at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday, 29 June.

At the court appearance on 28 July, Knight was sentenced to one year in prison, with an additional year to be served on licence after release. He has also been issued a restraining order and placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for ten years.

As a consequence of the criminal proceedings, Knight has resigned as a police officer, and an accelerated misconduct hearing for him will take place on Thursday, 3 August, led by the Metropolitan Police’s Directorate of Professional Standards.

Detective Sergeant Sean Booth from Sussex Police’s Safeguarding Investigation Unit expressed that Knight had taken advantage of a vulnerable woman and violated the trust the public placed in him as a police officer, whose duty was to protect. Booth commended the victim for her bravery in reporting the incident and supporting the investigation, highlighting that Sussex Police takes all reports of criminality seriously, regardless of the suspect’s profession, and ensures that justice is served while providing the necessary support to the victims.

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