Former head of police watchdog on trial for rape

Michael Lockwood, former head of the IOPC
Michael Lockwood has denied all the charges [IOPC]

The former head of a police complaints watchdog has gone on trial charged with sexual offences against two teenage girls more than 30 years ago.

Michael Lockwood, 65, from Epsom, Surrey, is charged with eight counts of indecent assault against one girl between August 1979 and August 1981.

He is also accused of three counts of rape and six counts of indecent assault against a second girl between October 1985 and March 1986.

The defendant has denied all the charges.

The Old Bailey heard that both 14-year-old girls were allegedly attacked by Mr Lockwood while he worked as a lifeguard at a leisure centre in the Hull area of East Yorkshire.

Opening the case for the prosecution, Jonathan Polnay KC, said the defendant was also employed as a senior auditor at Humberside County Council at the time and was 12 years older than one of his alleged victims.

"The imbalance is obvious in everything - age, money, experience and to be blunt about it, power," he said.

The court heard that Mr Lockwood had walked with one alleged victim after dark and leant across and kissed her.

It also heard he used to give her lifts home from the leisure centre, kissing her and "touching her breasts" at drop off.

The jury heard that Mr Lockwood wanted to "take things further" and as a member of staff had access to private areas of the leisure centre such as a chemicals storeroom.

He had led the girl there on several occasions and assaulted and raped her, Mr Polnay said.

The court heard that "at no stage" did Mr Lockwood ask if she wanted any of this to happen and according to the alleged victim "it just happened" and she "didn't resist".

Mr Polnay said: "She trusted Mr Lockwood. She was worried if anyone found out what had happened she would be in trouble and would be banned from the leisure centre."

'Extensive reporting' of allegations

Many years later the alleged victim sought counselling and decided to report the matter to the police, jurors heard.

In a police interview the defendant denied the allegations and said he had no recollection of ever knowing the girl.

In a further interview Mr Lockwood speculated that the alleged victim might have been "obsessed" with him, which was why she was making untrue allegations.

From 2018 to 2022, Mr Lockwood was director general of the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which handles complaints against police in England and Wales.

Due to his high-profile role there had been "extensive reporting" that he was facing allegations of a sexual nature, the court heard.

A second alleged victim read reports of this in a local newspaper and also contacted police.

She claimed that when she was 14 years old she had attended the same leisure centre where she met Michael Lockwood, then aged 20 and a student at the time.

They had "got chatting" and four months after they first met he had opened the door to a male toilet, pulled her inside and kissed her.

This was the first of the encounters between the pair, which moved on to the leisure centre storeroom where Mr Lockwood touched her breasts, the court heard.

"She will tell you that she thought she loved him," Mr Polnay said.

After the girl turned 15 Mr Lockwood had picked her up in his mother's car and there were further indecent assaults, the court heard.

In an interview with police, the defendant accepted having a sexual relationship with the girl, but said he believed at the time she was aged over 16.

The trial, which is expected to last three weeks, continues.

Follow BBC Surrey on Facebook, and on X. Send your story ideas to or WhatsApp us on 08081 002250.

More on this story

Related Internet Links