A disgraced police officer has been found guilty of rape and sentenced to ten years behind bars.
Ben Lister, 35, was convicted at court following a week-long trial which heard how he attacked the woman after a night out, dragged her off a sofa as she was sleeping and raped her.
The jury at Bradford Crown Court heard how the next morning Lister messaged the woman and even lied to her when she asked whether or not they had slept together. She went on to have her baby by her, Yorkshire Live reports.
Lister told her how they “did some stuff” but “didn’t go that far”.
Throughout the trial, he claimed that he lied to the woman as he was hoping to get back with a former partner and that all sexual activity between him and the woman had been consensual.
Prosecutor Richard Woolfall told the jury on Monday during his opening speech the woman was “paralytic” and could not consent to any sexual activity with Lister.
He said the attack happened following a night out in 2016 and Lister “took advantage of her”.
The prosecutor added: “Each went to sleep on separate sofas and at some point engaged in sexual activity in sexual activity.
“She is clear that she didn’t agree to it and did not consent to it. She wasn’t in any fit state due to the large amount she had to drink and she wasn’t able to consent. He woke up from her and began to have sex with her.
“The first recollection she has after she went to sleep was being dragged off the sofa onto the floor. She had periods where she drifted in and out of consciousness and she only remembers parts – brief snapshots – of what happened.”
The jury heard the woman attempted to “push” Lister’s hands away from her as he touched her intimately.
In a harrowing video interview played to the court, the woman tearfully told how she could remember Lister “repositioning” her and at one point when he was behind her she could feel him “breathing down her neck.”
During the interview, the woman said she noticed Lister was being “weird” with her during the course of the evening and said: “He was coming closer to me in the club. Wherever I was, he was always there. I didn’t look at him that way. I didn’t find him attractive. I did drink quite a bit and he was just being a bit weird towards me.”
The woman went on to have a baby which she “knew” was Lister’s. DNA from Lister when he was arrested in January 2020 proved he was the father.
She told police when she looked at her daughter she saw Lister’s face.
She added: “I had a really bad bond with her. I just saw his face whenever I looked at her, and I still do. When people asked who her dad was, I just said my ex-boyfriend. I didn’t want people to know. I was disgusted.”
His Honor Judge Jonathan Rose sentenced Lister to ten years imprisonment for rape and four years imprisonment for assault by penetration, which is to be served concurrently, making a total sentence of ten years.
He will serve up to half of his sentence in prison before being released on license. He will also be placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register indefinitely.
Lister has been an officer with West Yorkshire Police for 14 years but was suspended from the force following the accusations.
Detective Superintendent Mark Long of West Yorkshire Police’s Professional Standards Directorate said after Lister’s sentencing: “I would like to praise the bravery and courage of the victim who came forward in this case. I hope this conviction demonstrates that no one is above the law.
“I would encourage anyone who has any similar concerns to come forward and report them, they can have the confidence that we will investigate and will take action. I have no doubt that the serious criminal behavior of one of our officers will leave colleagues as horrified as I am.
“West Yorkshire Police expects the highest standards of conduct and behavior from its officers, whether they are on or off duty. This officer’s actions fell far below those standards.
“It is a privilege to work for West Yorkshire Police and the vast majority of police officers, PCSOs and police staff recognize this.
“They work tirelessly to protect and serve the communities of this county and to safeguard vulnerable victims. We have all been let down by this officer.
“He still faces a misconduct case and we will be taking action to ensure our procedures will be concluded at the earliest opportunity.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.