A DISGRACED police constable has been ordered to pay £5,000 to a colleague he had an “abusive” affair with, leaving her health and finances in ruins.

Alex Rush was a Brighton-based PC and acting sergeant before being dismissed for gross misconduct last year.

He started an intimate relationship with a lower-rank constable, also based in the city, in July 2015, despite having a wife and son.

Rush, from Polegate, started to become controlling and used coercive behaviour during their relationship, sending abusive messages on a regular basis and attempting to stop her from speaking to other men, including her work colleagues.

In an impact statement read out at Hove Crown Court yesterday, the woman said: “I completely trusted him and now see how stupid I was.

“I felt like I was his puppet. This continued for months and gradually got worse.

“He kept me in a place where I didn’t know if I was coming or going.

“He destroyed my self-esteem.”

Rush, 39, was arrested on January 9 last year and his mobile phone was seized by police.

Mobile phone evidence showed the couple had exchanged more than 80,000 messages, with abuse repeatedly being sent to the woman from his phone, including expletives and words such as “slut” and “slapper”.

Rush, who is now a railway worker, had planned to move into a house with the 30-year-old police constable but did not follow through with his promise and caused her to lose thousands of pounds after she signed for the property.

Her health deteriorated dramatically during their relationship and she said between July 2015 and July 2016 she lost three stone in weight due to the “stress of being with him”.

The female officer, who cannot be named for legal reasons, developed epilepsy during the time they were in contact.

She said: “I 100 per cent blame Alex for causing my illness. I believe the stress he brought to me caused my illness.

“I was off work for months after this.

“He ruined me financially. I was left with no choice but to move in with my parents, which, with my two very young children, brought stresses.”

Rush admitted engaging in controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate relationship.

Sentencing him, Recorder John Hardy QC, described the abuse as a “campaign of psychological bombardment”.

He said: “Effectively you dismantled her as a person. She invested love, faith and trust and you trampled on all three.

“You leave this court as you left the police service – in disgrace.”

Rush was given a two-year suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay £5,000 compensation to his victim within two years. He was also given an indefinite restraining order, stopping him from making contact with his victim.