Rapist policeman preyed on the weak.

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On the morning of 18 June 2014, a woman in Oklahoma flagged down a police car and alleged that she’d been stopped by officer Daniel Holtzclaw, 27, who’d forced her to perform oral sex on him.

The complaint shocked Oklahoma City Police Department to the core. It didn’t sound like the man they knew.

‘Not Daniel,’ friends and colleagues said.

Daniel Holtzclaw was a record-setting college football star, who’d joined the police in September 2010 after failing to break into the National Football League. He had an exemplary record and a degree in Criminal Justice, while his father was a long-time city policeman.

Yet the complaint bore startling similarities to one made about an unknown officer two months earlier.

Were they linked?

The police department had no choice but to suspend Holtzclaw from duty while an investigation was launched.

In the weeks that followed, police canvassed neighbourhoods, examined Holtzclaw’s police computer searches, and reviewed the global tracking system on his police cruiser.

Detective Kim Davis, a 13-year veteran of the Sex Crimes Unit, pored over his logs, warrant searches and arrest reports, and began interviewing people Holtzclaw had come into contact with while on duty.

It was while she investigated the first allegation that she realised Holtzclaw could be a serial sex attacker.

Unknown female DNA was found on his uniform trousers which wasn’t from the original complainant.

Victim Jannine Ligons (Photo: PA Photos)

‘It didn’t match. So we knew he didn’t just say, “I’m going to pull this lady over and sexually assault her.” There had to be other victims out there,’ Davis said.

More victims were tracked down or came forward, and a disturbing pattern emerged.

Holtzclaw was a sexual predator whose hunting ground was the dimly lit streets on the northeast side of Oklahoma City, one of its poorest neighbourhoods.

During his late-night shift, starting at 4pm and finishing at 2am, he’d often patrol alone. And there, among overgrown lots, boarded-up houses and abandoned businesses, the women were vulnerable prey.

He picked on black women, his victims aged 17 to 58, with histories of drug use or prostitution.

For six months, Holtzclaw exploited his police badge while on patrol, prowling the streets, targeting women, intimidating them into keeping quiet.

He subjected them to assaults, escalating from groping to rape and oral rape.

The attacks took place in private residences, in the back of his squad car, on the streets or in open-field park areas.

In August 2014, Daniel Holtzclaw was arrested and charged with 16 counts, including rape and sexual battery.

‘He wasn’t stupid in the way he committed these crimes,’ Detective Davis said. ‘He took them places where he knew there wouldn’t be any witnesses.’

By the time Holtzclaw went on trial in November 2015, at Oklahoma County Court, he was charged with 36 counts including rape, sexual battery, forcible oral sodomy, burglary, indecent exposure and other charges involving 13 women over a seven-month period in 2013 and 2014.]

Victim Shardayreon Hill (Photo: PA Photos)

He pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors told the jury how Holtzclaw systematically sought out black women in poor areas, mostly those with drug convictions or outstanding arrest warrants.

They alleged Holtzclaw began committing sex crimes in December 2013, when he coerced Shardayreon Hill, 22 – who was hospitalised, high on drugs and handcuffed to a bed – into performing oral sex, saying charges against her would be dropped.

For the next seven months, Holtzclaw would stop women, search them for drugs, and run a criminal check on them. He’d then use anything he’d found against them to secure their silence, before sexually assaulting them, threatening them with arrest if they didn’t comply.

Giving evidence, Detective Davis said investigators had matched the location of Holtzclaw’s patrol car to assault times, dates and locations described by the 13 women.

Holtzclaw denied everything, but refused to take the stand.

Holtzclaw’s parents Eric and Kumiko (Photo: PA Photos)

His lawyer attempted to discredit witnesses, citing their arrest records, focusing on their drug use, or examining their stories for inconsistencies.

Defence lawyers also questioned why most victims didn’t come forward until approached by the police.

The jury deliberated for 40 hours, over four days, before returning with their verdicts.

Holtzclaw, 29, rocked back and forth and sobbed uncontrollably as he was found guilty of 18 of the 36 charges, including first-degree rape.

The convictions were against eight victims, including grandmother Jannie Ligons and a 17-year-old girl he’d raped on her mother’s front porch.

‘I didn’t do it!’ Holtzclaw shouted as he was handcuffed and led from court.

In January 2016, Judge Timothy Henderson sentenced Holtzclaw to 263 years in prison. He was immediately put on suicide watch.

Holtzclaw maintains his innocence and is appealing his conviction.