One of the many victims of serial rapist PC David Carrick feared her career would be ruined if she spoke out. Speaking to ITV News Reporter Chloe Keedy, she explains how her testimony helped bring one of Britain's most prolific sex offenders to justice. Additional reporting by Joe Coshan.
Michelle remembers the moment she met PC David Carrick: "He came across as a really charming friendly guy".
But during the short time they worked together she noticed he "was also a bit of a womaniser."
"He’d smack the backside of a female (officer) while we were at work. He would flirt a lot. He had a massive ego."
Michelle, which isn’t her real name, met Carrick in 2004, and they soon started spending time together at the end of their shifts.
She says his behaviour was sometimes controlling, and if he saw her talking to other male officers at work, he would come and listen.
"He always knew who I was talking to and where I was. He loved himself."
One night, Michelle told me, they went back to his house, and he raped her.
Michelle now knows she is one of 12 women Carrick attacked over the course of almost two decades, and that he is a sexual predator and serial rapist who used his position as police officer to gain women's trust.
At a court hearing earlier this month he admitted to 49 offences, 24 of which were rape charges.
But his crimes went undetected by the force he worked for, despite his behaviour being brought to its attention no fewer than nine times.
It wasn't until 2021 when another woman came forward, that Michelle realised she wasn't alone.
"His picture came up on the TV and it was instant - the recognition. He hadn't changed particularly. And I thought 'oh my God, someone else has gone through what I've gone through’."
Michelle told Chloe Keedy she thinks the Met has changed and 'I think it has come with the change in commissioner'
Michelle told me she blames the Metropolitan Police for allowing a culture that stopped her from reporting what had happened to her sooner.
"I feel angry that I couldn't report. It's almost … I'm a hypocrite, because I didn't report. And alongside that obviously I feel guilty that I didn't report, because I feel guilty for the other victims that I didn't do something I should have done because of the culture of the job, and now they may or may not have gone through what they went through."
Michelle told me there was ‘no way’ she could have told her employers that she had been raped by one of her colleagues.
"I knew a male officer’s and female officer’s word against one another was never going to go my way. No one was going to believe me over him. I saw it as the end of my career and potentially a very difficult time so, no, I wasn’t going to say anything."
Michelle has been serving with the force for more than 20 years. She now works in a specialist role, and says she believes she would never have been promoted if she’d spoken out.
"It was very sexist in the force at that time. Male officers could do whatever they want. I had ‘property of the Met’ stamped on my backside. I spent half a shift in the boot of a police car. This was what female officers went through. You were called 'Doris' and you made the tea."
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Michelle told me she believes that, in the past year, things have finally started to change for the better.
She said: "I think it’s recent, and it’s come with a change of Commissioner."
Met Police Commissioner Mark Rowley told us he ‘fully supports’ Michelle’s decision to speak out about the abuse she endured.
“We are determined not only to root out those who corrupt the Met, but to do everything we can to ensure women, both those who work at the Met, and Londoners, have more confidence to report domestic and sexual abuse – and to know that when they come forward, action will be taken.”
But for Michelle and at least 12 other women, that change has come far, far too late.
If you, or someone you know has been impacted by any of the details in this article. There are places you can turn to for help:
24-hour freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by Refuge, on 0808 2000 247.
The Rape Crisis national freephone helpline on 0808 802 9999 (12 to 2.30pm and 7 to 9.30pm every day of the year).
A hospital accident and emergency (A&E) department. A doctor or practice nurse at your GP surgery.
A genitourinary medicine (GUM) or sexual health clinic, a contraceptive clinic, young people's service.
Call NHS 111 or get help from 111 online, the police, or dial 101. In an emergency, dial 999.