A POLICE community support officer has been cleared of raping a woman in a pub toilet.
Sean Prendergast burst into tears in the dock as he was found not guilty of attacking the woman, aged in her 20s, at Little Johnny Russell’s in Albert Road, Southsea.
A 12-strong jury at Guildford Crown Court heard during a four-day trial that Mr Prendergast was on a night out with his landlord when he met the woman – who cannot be named for legal reasons – at the bar.
The pair spent the evening chatting, flirting and kissing, bought each other drinks and exchanged phone numbers.
The woman told Mr Prendergast she had a boyfriend but that he was away on a stag do.
Then in the early hours of the next morning they went to the men’s toilets together where they had sex in a cubicle.
The pair were caught in the act a short while later by a man who works at Little Johnny Russell’s and was checking the toilets at closing time on November 28, 2010.
They were told to stop and Mr Prendergast left the area first.
The woman left the bar with a friend she was out with who had also met the 26-year-old accused and his landlord that night.
A short while later the woman’s friend returned to the bar, accused Mr Prendergast of rape and slapped him.
The police were alerted, Mr Prendergast, of Reginald Road, Southsea, was arrested and later charged with rape.
A test revealed the woman was more than twice the legal alcohol limit.
She later said she could not remember any detail about the incident, that she vaguely remembered having sex but she didn’t remember whether or not she consented.
Prendergast, who has no previous convictions, was suspended from his role as a police community support officer at Hampshire Constabulary as a result while he was investigated.
Mr Prendergast, who denied rape, was allowed to return to work on restricted duties earlier this year following a review of his case.