Shamed ex-cop Lee Rackham avoids jail after lying about sex assault convictions to get Gateshead vape shop job

Lee Rackham, who was jailed in 2009 and 2014 for sexually assaulting a vulnerable woman while he worked as a police officer, breached a court order by working unsupervised with a lone female.

A disgraced ex-police officer has avoided jail after lying about his past sex assault convictions to get a job in a Metrocentre vape shop.

Lee Rackham was locked up for five years in 2009 for attempting to rape a woman and for three years in 2014 for sexually assaulting four vulnerable women while he was in uniform and working for Humberside Police.

As part of his sentences, the 44-year-old was made to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register and made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO), with the latter banning him from working unsupervised with lone women.

But in July 2019, Rackham applied for a job at a vape shop in Gateshead, but failed to declare his past convictions despite being asked in interview, a court was told.

Having landed the role, the shamed former officer then worked with a lone woman “on a number of occasions” in September of the same year.

Rackham later emailed his offender manager admitting that he was sometimes alone with a woman during his employment.

The boss of the company later told police that he would not have employed Rackham had he known about his criminal past.

Now, Rackham, of Queens Gardens, in Annitsford, near CramlingtonNorthumberland, has avoided an immediate jail term after a judge ruled he had “demonstrated he could keep out of trouble”.

He had previously pleaded guilty to breaching a SHPO and fraud by false representation.

Daniel Cordey, mitigating at Newcastle Crown Court, said Rackham’s “motivation was not to seek the company of lone females, it was to earn a living”.

He told the court that since being released from prison in 2016, Rackham had retrained as a wind turbine technician and then in car and caravan sales.

But, Mr Cordey said: “After the policy changed at his place of employment he had to disclose his convictions and his employment was terminated.

“What he wants to do is work so he can earn a living.

“He wasn’t expecting questions about his background or convictions at his interview, and when he was, denied he had any previous convictions. He accepts he lied and that was wrong.”

Mr Cordey added there was “no suggestion he behaved in any way inappropriately” and that he had previously complied with the SHPO.

“This is a man who has shown he can, to a great extent, keep out of trouble with the courts after that very serious offending,” he said.

“He wants to become an ordinary member of society, and that includes working..”

The judge, Recorder Allison Hunter QC, told Rackham: “These offences are deliberate and show a propensity to be deceitful.

“I recognise the difficulties you face as a man trying to rehabilitate himself and that trying to find work could be significantly impeded by the terms of this order, but that doesn’t mean you ignore them, avoid them or deceive potential employers.”

But she added: “I recognise you have demonstrated you can keep out of trouble and comply with court orders.”

The judge sentenced Rackham to 12 months in prison, but suspended the sentence for 18 months.

He was ordered to carry out 15 days of rehabilitation activity and pay £400 prosecution costs.

Rackham was jailed in December 2009 for attempting to rape a woman in her own home while her young son was strapped into a pushchair in the next room.

When he was released from prison in 2012, he changed his name to Kershaw but was questioned by police when four further allegations were made against him, dating back to 2008.

Sheffield Crown Court was told at a subsequent hearing in 2014, where Rackham pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual assault and four of misconduct in a public office, that he used his uniform and police car to abuse the trust of the four victims so he could attack them while serving as an officer with Humberside Police.


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