Woman 'never considered calling police again' after being sexually harassed by detective

Watch Rachel Younger's report on the victim of crime who says she'd now not call the police again

It was a quiet Sunday afternoon in North London when Kristina O'Connor, a musician in her early twenties, was attacked by a group of men who tried to take her phone.

The assault left her with a black eye and sprained wrist, and while Kristina's physical injuries healed quickly, she never felt safe on the streets again.

Not because of the mugging itself, but because of what happened next, at the very place she sought safety.

Taken into an interview room at Kentish Town Police station, O'Connor was sexually harassed by the most senior detective in the building. 

Detective Chief Inspector James Mason, then a Detective Sergeant, recorded the details of the assault but went on to question O'Connor about her love life, what she wore to work, and asking whether she'd like to join him for dinner.

O'Connor went home feeling shaken, but her ordeal didn't end there.

Using his official police account, Mason sent her a series of emails calling O'Connor his "favourite Camden victim of crime" and offering to photograph her injuries.

When she pointed out he could be sacked for his comments, O'Connor says he responded by admitting she was right.

"He said coming on to victims is positively encouraged. Its all part of the friendly face of the Metropolitan Police. Its the rejection that's frowned upon".

Kristina O'Connor said she would never "consider calling the police again." Credit: ITV.

Eleven years on, the musician, whose father was the late television presenter Des O'Connor and who goes by the stage name Tarantina, still shakes her head in disbelief as she remembers her shock at his attitude.

"I felt like I had been a target yet again. I'd come to somewhere that I thought was a safety net, and it was just pulled from under me again".

It took more than a decade for O'Connor to find the courage to report what happened.

Only after the MeToo movement and revulsion at Sarah Everard's murder threw a spotlight on misogyny within the Met did she feel she had any chance of being taken seriously.

So she contacted the police watchdog, and at a hearing last year, Mason was found guilty of eight counts of gross misconduct that was sexually motivated.

Despite that, he was allowed to keep his job, salary, pension, and rank.

But O'Connor's trust in the people meant to protect her has gone forever.

She has never called the police again and believes Mason's career (he subsequently joined the Flying Squad and was commended for his role in the Westminster Bridge attack) has been prioritised over her safety.

"I certainly didn't ever consider calling the police again," she told me.

"As far as I was concerned, they were just as likely to hurt me as any stranger on the street."

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police told ITV News: "Any victim of crime should have the confidence and trust to come to the police to receive the support and professionalism they rightfully expect.

"In October 2021, following a misconduct hearing where the allegations against him were proven, DCI James Mason was found to have committed gross misconduct.

"After hearing all the available evidence, they issued DCI Mason with a final written warning. 

"As Judicial Review proceedings have been initiated, we will not comment further."