Former police officer and care worker gets life for attempted murder.

melissaswiftA former police officer and  care worker, who used eye drops and a bleach-based cleaning fluid to poison colleagues at a residential home, has been given a life sentence.

Melissa Swift was handed a minimum term of eight years after a court heard how she also sent an anonymous bloodstained letter to her step-sister, threatening to kill her before cooking and eating her body.

Swift, formerly of Hambletts Road, West Bromwich, pleaded guilty in February last year to three counts of attempted murder. The 25-year-old former police volunteer further admitted two offences of making threats to kill her step-sister and another woman.

opening the facts of the care worker’s offending in July and August 2014, prosecutor Matthew Brook said Swift had placed noxious substances into water jugs and bottles at West Bromwich’s Goldfield Court care home.

Swift’s actions led to at least three of her colleagues being taken ill – one with a suspected stroke – after they consumed what they thought was normal water.

Mr Brook said: “The offences not only represent a severe breach of trust but also the accepted intention to kill three people.”

During the sentencing of Swift, who appeared in court via a videolink to Rampton psychiatric hospital in Nottinghamshire, it emerged that the poisonings were only uncovered after she confessed to a friend and her GP.

Judge Mark Wall QC was told that Swift has since been treated for a depressive disorder at Rampton.

Ordering that the would-be killer should be cared for at Rampton rather than in a prisonwhile she still requires treatment, Judge Wall told Swift: “You took, from your home to your workplace, containers which had noxious liquids in them.

“Your guilty pleas confirm your desire that people should drink those liquids and die as a result.

“The effects of what you did are unmeasurable. What is known is that at the time you were doing this, seven members of staff and 23 residents became unwell. You are surely responsible for much of that illness.”

The judge ruled that there was evidence of planning before the offences, including internet searches related to poisons. Passing a life sentence coupled with a Mental Health Act order, the judge told the defendant: “I am of the view your mental health issues do not extinguish your culpability.”

A previous hearing was told Swift had been a special constable with West Midlands Police until a month prior to her arrest in August 2014.

Commenting on the case, Detective Chief Inspector Michaela Kerr, from the force’s Public Protection Unit, said: “Melissa deceived her colleagues and hatched a plan to cause ill to those she worked with as a result of some malice, for which we have never truly discovered the cause.

“She not only thought out a way of poisoning her work mates but also followed the plan through and administered bleach to their drinks, leaving them in the usual staff fridge where she knew they would go.

“Today’s sentence reflects the severity of her actions. Thankfully no one was seriously injured as a result of what she did, but the story could so easily have been different.”

1,000 a year less police since 2010

pcso

More than 1,000 police community support officer jobs have been cut every year in England since 2010, according to a new report.

A study by Unison found there has been a 27% reduction in the number of PCSOs, with more than 4,400 jobs lost.

The union said the cuts had left the public with “little or no reassurance” over safety and had made a “huge impact” on policing of streets because PCSOs make up a big percentage of neighbourhood policing teams.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “People feel safer when there is a visible and reassuring police presence on the beat.

“But years of savage cuts to PCSOs mean that one in four police patrols have been withdrawn from our neighbourhoods since 2010. If the Conservatives are returned to power, the harsh police spending cuts they are proposing would see many more PCSOs cut.

“This government has shown no interest in protecting frontline police despite its promises to do so. Ministers’ obsession with cuts is now placing the public at greater risk. With fewer PCSOs, vital evidence and intelligence gathering will be lost and fewer crimes solved.

“Five more years of a Conservative government would sound the death knell for neighbourhood policing – upon which so many people rely.”

Unison has called on Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to investigate the impact of cuts on the quality of the police service.

Thieving Scam Cop Faces Jail

Alexis Scott faces jail
Alexis Scott faces jail

A former police community support officer from south-east London who stole thousands of pounds by tricking departing air passengers into thinking they were carrying too much cash could be facing jail.

Alexis Scott approached travellers as they were about to go through the final gate at Gatwick in Sussex and asked how much money they were carrying, police said.

She convinced some that they were carrying more than the maximum amount allowed and “confiscated” the balance, before reassuring her victims they could claim it back when they returned.

The 39-year-old then placed the money under her uniform hat and headed back to the police station.

The scam was uncovered when returning passengers began asking airport officials for their money back. Scott, of Plumstead, was arrested in May last year.

After a police investigation she was accused of stealing more than £15,000 from seven victims.

After a trial lasting more than three weeks, she was convicted at Canterbury Crown Court of six offences of theft and one of misconduct in public office, while she was found not guilty of one count of theft. The charge she was cleared of related to an alleged theft of around £1,500.

Scott was remanded into custody ahead of sentencing.

Following the verdict Deputy Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney said: “Sussex Police expects the highest personal and professional standards of everyone who works for us.

“Scott fell woefully short of those standards, abusing the trust that we had placed in her, but more importantly, the trust of the public and in particular, the victims of her crimes.

“Passengers and other users of Gatwick Airport rightly expect that those who wear the uniform of Sussex Police do so with integrity and honesty.

“Scott failed in this simple requirement and has been duly punished, but this mustn’t be allowed to reflect upon the professionalism, honesty and integrity of other employees of Sussex Police who work tirelessly and selflessly around the clock.

“This was a complex and detailed investigation of an audacious act, but any such act will not be tolerated and we acted swiftly and decisively as soon as it came to light.”

After internal disciplinary proceedings in July last year Scott was dismissed from her job, which pays a basic salary of between £18,500 and just over £20,000 a year.

Cop Charged With Assault

nickpearce

A police community support officer is to appear in court accused of an assault in South Gloucestershire.

PCSO Nicholas Pearce has been reported for summons to court for common assault.

Avon and Somerset Police said that the family of a 15-year-old boy complained that he had been assaulted by PCSO Pearce during an incident at Downend sports centre in June this year.

“The complaint was investigated by our professional standards department and the evidence passed to the Crown Prosecution Service,” a force spokesman said.

“Authorisation was given to prosecute PCSO Nicholas Pearce for common assault and he has been reported for summons for the offence and will appear before magistrates court at a date to be fixed.

“This action demonstrates that we will vigorously investigate all complaints from the public about alleged misconduct by our staff.”