A long-serving policewoman who quit the force after being repeatedly groped by a sex pest inspector has won over £70,000 in compensation.
Paul Nightingale, 40, has been ordered to pay Lisa Myers £21,960 for sexually harassing her over 12 months when they were working for British Transport Police in Liverpool.
Mrs Myers, 38, will receive another payout in the region of £50,000 after BTP settled her separate claim against them for sex discrimination and victimisation.
Judge Tobias Ryan announced the award at the end of a six-day employment tribunal hearing in Liverpool.
Paul Nightingale (pictured with his wife Rebecca) has been ordered to pay his colleague £21,960
The award included £10,000 for injury to feelings and £8,000 in aggravated damages.
Mr Ryan said that Mr Nightingale could have offered Mrs Myers an unconditional apology but instead contested her sexual harassment claim, ‘defending the indefensible’.
The judge rejected married father-of-two Mr Nightingale’s claim that he thought the pair were embarking on an affair at their base at Liverpool Lime street station.
Mr Ryan said that Mr Nightingale ‘knew full well he was taking advantage’, adding: ‘His assertion that they were in a relationship and that she encouraged it were without doubt detrimental to her career and her reputation.
‘He knew that his attentions were unwelcome but he believed he could win her round and he believed she would not complain.’
Mr Nightingale had grabbed Mrs Myers’ bottom, kissed her neck and once stuck his hand down her top and fondled her breasts ‘with a vacant look in his eyes’.
He also demanded massages, ‘alone time’, a ‘birthday kiss’ and sent her a phone message saying ‘Nice a***’.
He was accused of drunkenly targeting five women at a staff Christmas party – after warning the public against ‘alcohol-fuelled antisocial behaviour’ in a festive publicity campaign.
Policewoman Lisa Myers (pictured) has won a £70,000 payout following an employment tribunal
Mrs Myers was one of three BTP officers who branded married father-of-two Mr Nightingale a ‘creep’ over his ‘sleazy’ behaviour at the December 2015 bash, the tribunal heard.
Mrs Myers told how her boss fondled her bottom at the work party and said he would like sex with her in the back of a car.
A 24-year-old community support officer said a slurring and swaying Mr Nightingale asked how old she was, groped her bottom and suggested that ‘if she wanted to have sex with him she could’ and that he could ‘show her a thing or two that no other 24-year-old boy could’.
At the time of the incidents Mr Nightingale was a sergeant but was acting in the role of inspector at BTP’s base at Liverpool Lime Street station.
When Mrs Myers complained about Mr Nightingale in May 2016, she was moved to a different office 20 miles away. As a result, she quit the force in disgust in January 2017 after 12 years of service.
Married mother-of-two Mrs Myers today told the tribunal that Mr Nightingale’s harassment had caused her ‘extreme distress and anxiety’.
She said: ‘I cannot adequately convey the distress having to continue these proceedings and contest Mr Nightingale’s defence that I have lied and deliberately manufactured the allegations of sexual harassment.
‘This distress was also vastly increased by the distress I could see that it caused my husband and the rest of my family.
‘I am, however, pleased that my stand in looking for justice as a victim of sexual harassment has been vindicated even though it has been extremely distressing experience for me.
‘I continued these proceeding in the hope that it may provide some encouragement and comfort to other women in and out of the police force who are suffering sexual harassment and of whom I am sure there are many and who may be given the courage to face up to the harasser.’
Speaking outside court, she added: ‘I hope this will give heart and encouragement to other women who have suffered sexual harassment so that they are able to obtain justice.
‘But it has been emotional to have to go through a tribunal hearing and I am disappointed that the Police Federation represented Mr Nightingale.
Mr Nightingale’s wife Rebecca (pictured) is understood to be standing by him and was at the employment tribunal on Monday
‘I find it staggering that fees paid by other hard working officers around the country are being used to fund this sort of case.
‘I think serving officers will be outraged when they know what their fees are being used to pay for.’
Her lawyer Michael McDonough, of McDonough & Associates, said: ‘Our client never entered into these proceedings for financial gain. She wanted justice.
‘We hope that this award will act as a deterrent to men sexually harassing women and encourage other women who are being harassed to come forward and obtain justice.’
Mrs Myers, who has suffered from depression since leaving the force, now volunteers at a rape crisis centre.
It has also emerged that Mr Nightingale was accused of rape in 2002 by a female member of the public while he was a sergeant with Cambridgeshire Constabulary, based in Peterborough.
He told BTP investigators that he had consensual sex with the woman while off duty.
A Cambridgeshire Constabulary spokesperson said: ‘An allegation of rape was made. This was recorded as a public complaint and referred to professional standards.
‘The then Police Complaints Authority were notified. Following investigation, the complaint was unsubstantiated. The PCA concurred with this decision.’
BTP confirmed Mr Nightingale resigned in January last year. He was due to face gross misconduct proceedings after investigators ruled he had a ‘case to answer’ – instead he was added to a register of people ineligible to work for the police.
He is now branch manager of a DIY store.
His wife Rebecca Nightingale, 34, runs a cake design business. The mother-of-two was crowned the best-dressed racegoer on Ladies’ Day at the 2014 Grand National.
She is understood to be standing by him and accompanied him to the tribunal today.