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Press release

Interview with Police Now detective who brought sex offender to justice

Interview with Police Now detective who brought sex offender to justice

Tuesday 19th December 2023

Detective Constable Caroline Anderson successfully led an investigation which brought sex offender Darren Thomas to justice. He was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court today (Tuesday 19th December) to total of 18 years and seven months behind bars. He was also handed a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and restraining order for life.

45-year-old Darren Thomas (DOB 09/09/1978), of no fixed address, was sentenced following his assaults on three victims. He was convicted of two counts of rape of an under 16-year-old, five counts of sexual assault, two counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and one count of digital penetration.

Custody image - Darren Thomas

Convicted sex offender Darren Thomas

DC Anderson joined South Yorkshire Police in 2021 via Police Now’s intensive National Detective Programme. Despite having only two years in service, she showed outstanding leadership and investigative skills which proved key to securing all ten charges. The strength of the evidence she gathered led to Thomas pleading guilty to the catalogue of charges at an earlier hearing.

Following a disclosure from one of the brave young victims, DC Anderson worked alongside her colleagues to gather evidence – including from electronic devices which were seized – and make an initial arrest. The evidence included a letter written by one of Thomas’ young victims, in which they bravely disclosed details of their ordeal.

The evidence included a letter written by one of Darren Thomas’ young victims, in which they bravely
disclosed details of their ordeal.

DC Anderson further examined police systems for any other known information about the suspect and found a record from 2015, in which someone had reported that a man named Darren Thomas had made her ‘feel uncomfortable.’ From that non-recent and seemingly minor piece of information, DC Anderson was able to identify a further two victims, who both provided key evidence for this case.

DC Caroline Anderson said: “This has been a complex investigation, with evidence spanning almost eight years to uncover and review. It has undoubtedly been a long and difficult process for the victims, and I want to commend their tremendous bravery in coming forward and providing statements and key evidence. They will have to deal with the consequences of his actions for the rest of their lives, but thanks to their support, a dangerous and prolific offender is now off the streets and behind bars, unable to prey on anyone else. I am proud of the results of the investigation and hope it has brought the victims a certain level of closure, but nothing can eliminate their ordeal. I hope this also demonstrates that we will treat all reports of sexual assault, both recent and non-recent, incredibly seriously and would encourage any victims of sexual assault to get in touch – even if you don’t want to pursue a criminal conviction, we can ensure you’re supported.”

A former secondary school music teacher, DC Anderson joined South Yorkshire Police via Police Now’s two-year National Detective Programme, which supports graduates and career-changers to become outstanding investigators across England and Wales. Last year, Caroline was nominated for Student Officer of the Year for her proactive policing work and dedication to tackling Violence Against Women and Girls. She said: “I am passionate about making society a safer place, by securing convictions against offenders and safeguarding vulnerable members of the community. Without Police Now’s national programme and the opportunities it has afforded me, I don’t think I would be where I am today, making a real impact and difference in society.”

Detective Constable Caroline Anderson, Police Now National Detective Programme

Police Now detective DC Caroline Anderson

Video available for download here

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