West End actor turned Met Police officer admits stalking 2 months after tribunal over penis exposure

By Staff

A police officer who exposed his erect penis to a Tinder date stalked another woman he met online whilst working in a Met Police safeguarding unit. Thomas Hartill, a former detective constable attached to the North West Command Unit, pleaded guilty to one count of stalking at Highbury Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, March 14, two months after he was found guilty of sexual misconduct at a Met Police tribunal.

The 37-year-old, of Station Road, Harpenden, previously worked as an actor and director, starring in West End productions, including As You Like It, Jekyll and Hyde, and The Intruder. After joining the Met Police, the thespian worked directly with female victims of stalking and abuse in a safeguarding unit.

On Thursday, prosecutor Martin Edwards told the court how Hartill met a female teacher on a dating app in July last year, while he was still a serving officer. After dating the woman – nine years his junior – for some weeks, she dumped him.

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But rather than accept the relationship was over, Hartill repeatedly messaged her and even swapped phones after she blocked his number, the court heard. Hartill then stalked her, appearing at a bus stop on her way home from work on July 30 last year, and then again on September 7, Mr Edwards said.

“I’m incredibly anxious and nervous about him. Especially as there was a six week break away,” the victim wrote in her impact statement. “His behaviour is making me feel nervous. The persistent messaging is distracting and concerning… I am on edge and nervous all the time. It makes me feel incredibly unsafe.”

Defence counsel James O’Donnell said Hartill had expressed remorse as he called for an all options report from the probation service. Chair Amanda Gibbons gave Hartill bail on the condition he makes no contact with his victim. Hartill stammered ‘I have no reason to’ as Ms Gibbons warned him any breach of the condition could land him in prison.

‘I think I was sexually assaulted’

Hartill’s criminal conviction comes after he resigned from the Met Police in January 2024, ahead of a misconduct hearing the same month. The tribunal heard how his victim appeared upset and told a friend ‘I think I was sexually assaulted last night’ after her date with Hartill.

Like with Hartill’s stalking victim, the pair met on a dating app, in this case Tinder, then agreed to meet up. The victim said they kissed on a bench, but she refused to engage in sexual activity when Hartill placed her hand on his penis. Despite her objections, he did it again. Later when they went for a drive in her car, she said Hartill exposed his erect penis and said ‘Go on’ without her consent.

She also told the panel ‘Hartill kept bringing the conversation around to the sexual side of a relationship while she wanted a long-term relationship’. In his defence, Hartill accused the victim of sending bikini photos and a nude. However, the panel said Hartill ‘probably’ accessed the bikini photos from Facebook, and he could not prove the identity of the naked woman as her face was cropped.

The panel was satisfied with the victim’s evidence that Hartill placed her hand on his penis twice, without consent, and exposed himself in the car. They also heard evidence of the impact on the victim, who said she would now ‘freeze’ if she heard a police siren and had started therapy to help her cope with Hartill’s behaviour.

In its ruling, the panel concluded Hartill’s behaviour was repeated, deliberate, and he was seeking sexual gratification. Had Hartill not already resigned, the panel found he was guilty of gross misconduct and would have been sacked anyway.

‘There is no excuse’

On Friday, March 15, a Met Police spokesperson confirmed ‘former DC Hartill did work in a safeguarding unit, therefore would have come into contact with victims of stalking offences’.

Chief Superintendent Sara Leach, leading the Met’s North West Policing Command, said: “There is no excuse for the actions of this officer. In his former role as a police officer he would have been aware of the devastating consequences of stalking, therefore this makes his offending all the more disappointing.

“PC Hartill has been dismissed from the Met and he has been added to a barred list, held by the College of Policing, which means he cannot be employed by a police force again.” After his conviction on Thursday, Hartill will be sentenced at the same court in April.

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