Edinburgh crime: Police officer who had sexual relationship with vulnerable teenage victim facing jail

Edinburgh police officer had relationship with vulnerable teen
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An Edinburgh police officer who began a sexual relationship with a teenager after she reported rape and domestic abuse allegations is facing a lengthy jail sentence. PC Gavin Donaldson was part of the team tasked with investigating the allegations made by Anisha Yaseen, who was just 17 at the time.

During the course of the police investigation the 45-year-old married constable then started up a romantic affair with the vulnerable woman over a four year period. And after his behaviour was subsequently investigated by Police Scotland’s anti-corruption unit he begged Ms Yaseen to delete all the communication between them and not to hand her phone over to officers. Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told there were close to 30,000 messages exchanged between the pair over the course of the consensual relationship.

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Donaldson appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday, March 23, where he pleaded guilty to a charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice over two days in November 2020. Prosecutor Joanna Waller told the court PC Donaldson first met the woman when she was 17 years old and while he was investigating her allegations of serious sexual assault and domestic abuse in May 2016.

Gavin Donaldson and inset Anisha Yaseen outside court in EdinburghGavin Donaldson and inset Anisha Yaseen outside court in Edinburgh
Gavin Donaldson and inset Anisha Yaseen outside court in Edinburgh

The disgraced constable, from the Jewel area of Edinburgh, passed on his work and personal email addresses to Ms Yaseen and attended at her home on several occasions.The court was told the PC and the woman were then in “daily contact over four years” and there had been 28,133 WhatsApp and Snapchat messages and a further 200 emails between them. The fiscal depute said the officer and the woman were in “a consensual sexual relationship” that did not involve sexual intercourse.

The court heard a police anti-corruption investigation into the officer uncovered the pair’s relationship in November 2020 and he was immediately placed on “restricted duties”. Father-of-one Donaldson then made a desperate 40 minute phone call to Ms Yaseen begging her to delete all the messages between them and not to hand over her mobile phone to police for examination. The officer was then suspended from duties on November 25, 2020 and he later resigned from his position as a constable with the force.

Sheriff Douglas Keir told Donaldson he was facing “a very serious matter” and that “careful consideration will be given to all sentencing options”. Donaldson was realised on bail and sentence was deferred to next month for reports.

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Ms Yaseen has waived her anonymity and she read out an emotional prepared statement to the waiting press outside court. She said she was “a product of failed systems in Scotland” and at the time did not realise she was being “groomed” by the police officer. She said: “To know that he has admitted his guilt, is to me, his confirmation that the stable period in my life was a lie – something I don’t know how to come to terms with.” Ms Yaseen also asked for any other potential victims of Donaldson to come forward and report him.

Chief Superintendent Catriona Henderson, of Police Scotland, said: “Gavin Donaldson abused his position and his behaviour does not represent Police Scotland's values or standards of professional behaviour. It is right that policing is held to high standards. Those, like Donaldson, who reject what we stand for, don't belong in Police Scotland. When this matter came to light, we took swift action to hold him to account. Had he remained a serving officer, the circumstances of his offences would now be considered for misconduct proceedings.”