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.”

Decorated Anti-Shoptlifting Cop On Trial For Shoplifting

Richard Pendlebury a decade ago as a decorated officer
Richard Pendlebury a decade ago as a decorated officer

A decorated police officer who helped front an anti-shoplifting campaign went on a stealing spree in Asda before assaulting a security guard as he tried to leave the store, a court has heard.

Richard Pendlebury, 42, an officer with Greater Manchester Police, was stopped by staff at the Pilsworth Road store in Bury who searched his child’s changing bag to find a woman’s top, dress, shoes and apples.

Pendlebury, a custody sergeant at Bury Police Station, flashed his warrant card to the security man upon being asked to return to the store – telling him he was an off duty police officer as he attempted to pass the bag to his partner, Zoe Wilkinson, 30.

Pendlebury, a serving officer for over 20 years, denies theft and assault on September 19, 2014, and further denies one count of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice between September 18, 2014 and April 9 2015.

He also denies two charges of intending to pervert the course of justice along with Wilkinson, who faces the same two charges between the dates of December 27, 2014 and January 1, 2015.

opening the case at Preston Crown Court, Mr Richard Haworth said Pendlebury entered the store carrying his child accompanied by his other child on a scooter, behind Wilkinson who went to return a pair of leggings.

CCTV showed the couple looking in the clothing area before Wilkinson held up an item of clothing and placed it in the trolley.

Mr Haworth said Pendlebury was then seen on CCTV selecting a sandwich and giving it to the children.

Mr Haworth said: “Mr Pendlebury was seen to lean down into the trolley for a number of seconds before standing up, now holding an empty sandwich box and a clothes hanger and walked over to a bin and threw the empty items into a bin together with the hanger.”

Jurors were told as they made their way to the tills – the trolley “neatly arranged” with the child’s changing bag and a pink scooter – there was no sign of the items that had previously been placed in it.

After they left, Pendlebury was approached by a security guard holding the empty sandwich box and hanger.

Mr Haworth added: “He asked the defendant to return into the store and needed to speak to him about the items. He put the child down and took hold of his arm and produced his warrant card.”

He added that Pendlebury attempted to pass the changing bag to Wilkinson, then grabbed the security guard before a struggle ensued.

Mr Haworth added: “Mr Pendlebury suggested his partner suffered from depression. Mr Pendlebury sought to persuade the store to take no action, referring to the fact he was a custody sergeant and had been a police officer for a number of years.”

Once inside, the bag revealed £24 worth of clothing goods and apples and a sandwich totalling £1.25.

Pendlebury was to admit the child had eaten the sandwich, adding he was happy to pay for it, before telling staff his partner was on medication and “didn’t know what she was doing”.

The court later heard the couple asked Wilkinson’s hairdresser to cover for them in providing a false statement, claiming she had witnessed the security guard “grabbing” at Wilkinson’s arm.

The woman later pleaded guilty to conspiracy to perverting the course of justice, saying she had been asked to provide a false account when Wilkinson told her her partner’s “job was on the line”.

Jurors were further told Pendlebury had been caught on camera in the custody area at Rochdale police station admitting on the telephone he was going to have to “take a hit” after learning that police had found incriminating text messages on his partner’s phone.

In 2005, Pendlebury was honoured with the Chief Constable’s Commendation for extreme courage and bravery after he was stabbed and sprayed with CS gas as he chased a man.

He later helped publicise an initiative to combat pickpockets and shoplifters in Bury town centre.

Police sergeant among accused in manslaughter trial over death in custody

Kingshott, Marsden, Tansley
Kingshott, Marsden, Tansley

A police custody sergeant and two detention officers are to go on trial accused of killing a schizophrenic church caretaker who collapsed while in custody.

Sergeant Jan Kingshott, 44, and civilian staff Simon Tansley, 38, and Michael Marsden, 55, face trial at Bristol Crown Court.

The three defendants each deny two joint charges of the manslaughter of Thomas Orchard.

The first charge alleges that on October 10 2012 they did an act or series of acts which unlawfully killed Mr Orchard.

The second charge alleges that on the same day the Devon and Cornwall officers unlawfully killed Mr Orchard by gross negligence.

Mr Orchard died in hospital seven days after he was allegedly restrained at Exeter’s main police station having been earlier arrested on suspicion of a public order offence.

The trial is expected to last up to seven weeks before High Court Judge Mr Justice King.

Cop and PSCO Convicted of Shocking Misconduct in Vigilante Murder

Left: Victim Bijan Ebrahim and Right: Lee James who murdered him (r), and Stephen Norley (l) who assisted James
Left: Victim Bijan Ebrahim and Right: Lee James who murdered him (b), and Stephen Norley (t) who assisted James

A police officer and a community support officer have been convicted of misconduct after the vigilante murder of a disabled man.

Bijan Ebrahimi, 44, was beaten to death and his body set on fire by neighbour Lee James, who wrongly believed he was a paedophile, in Bristol in 2013.

James was jailed for life for the murder, while Stephen Norley, who lived next door, was sentenced to four years in prison for assisting an offender.

Pc Kevin Duffy, 52, and PCSO Andrew Passmore, 56, were each convicted of a charge of misconduct in a public office by a jury at Bristol Crown Court.

Speaking outside court, Mr Ebrahimi’s sister Manizhah Moores called for Duffy and Passmore to be removed from Avon and Somerset Police.

Duffy and Passmore are two of 18 officers and staff facing misconduct proceedings within the force. Of those, nine are accused of gross misconduct.

Pcs Leanne Winter, 38, and Helen Harris, 40, were each acquitted of a charge of misconduct in a public office following the seven-week trial.

Judge Neil Ford QC, the Recorder of Bristol, released Duffy and Passmore on bail until a date to be fixed.

“All sentencing options are open in this case,” he told both defendants.

Mrs Moores said: “We now call on the chief constable to remove officers Duffy and Passmore from the force with immediate effect.

“Our search for justice for Bijan continues.

“We dedicate Bijan’s memory to all other victims of race hate crime, in the hope that their lives can be protected.”

She thanked the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and the Crown Prosecution Service for the “important prosecution”.

The court previously heard Mr Ebrahimi dialled 999 to report that James had come into his flat and head-butted him on July 11.

James wrongly believed that Mr Ebrahimi, an Iranian national, had filmed his young children.

Mr Ebrahimi was actually gathering evidence to support his claims of anti-social behaviour to Bristol City Council.

Pcs Winter and Harris arrived at the scene, Capgrave Crescent in Brislington, to find James crying with anger and frothing at the mouth.

A mob had formed outside and James was heard shouting: “Paedo! I’m going to f****** kill you.”

Pcs Winter and Harris arrested Mr Ebrahimi, who was not visibly injured, for allegedly breaching the peace.

In footage filmed by Mr Ebrahimi, he tells Pc Harris: “For second time he came to me and threatening me to die and you let him go.

“You are supposed to come here to look after me.”

The officer told Mr Ebrahimi to get back inside his home, replying: “You’re making it worse, get in, get in.”

As Mr Ebrahimi was led away, the crowd outside cheered and shouted “paedophile”.

While in custody, Pc Harris told him: “All you are doing is upsetting the residents… and antagonising them.

“I’m a police officer and you’re a pain in the ass. Don’t speak to me.”

He was released from custody the following day, July 12, and made 12 calls to police non-emergency number 101.

Mr Ebrahimi was informed that Duffy, his local beat manager, would visit but the officer refused to speak to him.

“My life is in danger. Right now a few of my neighbours are outside and shouting and calling me a paedophile. I need to see Pc Duffy,” Mr Ebrahimi told one operator.

Duffy told a supervisor: “He should be told in no uncertain terms that I will speak to him at my convenience, it’s Mr Bijan Ebrahimi he’s well known to me and I won’t be taking any calls from him.”

He asked Passmore to conduct a “bit of a foot patrol” around Capgrave Crescent.

Passmore was found not guilty of failing to patrol there but was convicted of later falsely telling murder detectives he had spent an hour in the area.

On July 13, Mr Ebrahimi tried to contact Duffy and Winter. He phoned police at 00.12am on July 14 – about an hour before his murder – asking for Winter.

The officer told a call operator: “I’m absolutely not interested in speaking to him ever.”

Witnesses saw James repeatedly stamp on Mr Ebrahimi’s head before setting him alight at 1.35am.

James then told his partner: “We set him on fire. He is not going to take photos any more. Tell the girls I did it for them and you.”

A post-mortem examination found Mr Ebrahimi, who had problems with mobility and suffered from depression, died before he was set alight.

Temporary Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe described Mr Ebrahimi’s murder as “senseless”.

“We have changed and improved the way we work and will continue to work with our partners to do everything in our power to prevent such a dreadful event happening again,” she added.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “It is clear that on this occasion the constabulary failed local people and let down a vulnerable man in his own home.

“This should never have happened.”

IPCC commissioner Jan Williams said the police watchdog had shared its findings with Avon and Somerset Police “at a senior level”.

Police officer in court tomorrow charged with misconduct in public office

Sussex-policeA police officer is to appear in court charged with misconduct in public office and alleged data offences.

Pc Luke Smith, 33, a Sussex Police officer based at Hastings, was arrested in March following claims made against him by a female member of the public in the town.

He has been charged with misconduct in public office and “knowingly or recklessly obtaining, disclosing or procuring the disclosure” of personal information without permission of the data controller.

A police spokesman said that Smith will appear at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 12th November 2015.

 

Senior Met Cop Pleads Guilty to Possession of Class A Drugs

Paul Cahill
Paul Cahill

A senior gay police officer who was awarded an MBE has pleaded guilty to possession of drugs, Scotland Yard said.

Chief Inspector Paul Cahill, 43, admitted two counts of possession of Class A drugs, one of possession of Class B drug, and one of possession of Class C drug.

He was given a conditional discharge for 12 months and ordered to pay £85 costs, with a £15 victim surcharge, at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London.

A Yard spokesman said: “Chief Inspector Cahill remains suspended from duty. Now that the criminal proceedings are complete the Metropolitan Police will conduct amisconduct investigation.”

Awarded an MBE for services to diversity in policing in 2004, the decorated officer is known for appearing on the cover of Gay Times in full uniform in 1997.

He first joined the police in the 1990s when he said it was ”virtually not acceptable to be gay”.

Cahill was also involved in using gay officers to reassure the public and gather intelligence around Old Compton Street in the aftermath of the Soho nail bombing in 1999.

He was the chairman of the Gay Police Association until it disbanded in April last year and helped secure it public funding in 2002.

Ex Police Officer jailed for fraud

Christopher Hawkins
Christopher Hawkins

A former police officer is starting a two-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to fraud offences totalling £85,000, police said.

Christopher Hawkins, 46, of Dorchester Road in Bury St Edmunds, was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court after previously pleading guilty to four counts of fraud by false representation, according to Norfolk Constabulary.

Hawkins, a former police officer with Norfolk Constabulary, committed the offences between January 30 2007 and August 31 2013, the force said.

He falsely claimed his former wife had signed and agreed to be bound by the terms of credit agreements including extending mortgages and surrendering endowment policies in order to obtain cash loans.

Police said he made these applications on both their behalves, forging signatures to acquire the money to pay significant gambling debts.

These offences came to light following a previous investigation into a fraud allegation which Hawkins was sentenced for in September 2014, receiving a 12-month community order with 12 months’ supervision and 200 hours’ unpaid work, police said.

The force said Hawkins, who had served as an officer between December 1989 and October 2014, was dismissed from the force following his 2014 conviction after an internal disciplinary process with the Professional Standards Department.

Detective Sergeant Gary Lillie, from Norfolk and Suffolk’s anti-corruption unit, said: “We expect the highest level of personal and professional behaviour from those serving with us.

“This result highlights how important it is for the forces to continue to robustly investigate any allegations of criminal conduct made against its employees or former employees.

“The fact that Hawkins had deceived those who should have been able to trust him the most and who have particularly suffered via his actions is equally unacceptable.”

Police officer couldn’t control sexual urges

Christopher Hopkins
Christopher Hopkins

A police constable was “unable to contain his urges” as he committed a string of sexual assaults while on duty, a court has heard.

Christopher Hopkins, 41, is said to have targeted his three alleged victims between 2006 and 2013 – an under-age girl, a 17-year-old girl and a work colleague at Merseyside Police.

The married father also allegedly arranged over the internet to meet a man for sexual activity when he should have been on mobile police patrol.

opening the prosecution case at Preston Crown Court, Richard Haworth told jurors: “The Crown’s case, in a nutshell, is that he was unable to contain his sexual urges and all of these alleged offences were committed to satisfy his predatory sexual nature.

“As an overall view, the audacity and impertinence of some of the sexual advances beggars belief at times. But such an approach is a common feature of his offending.”

The first complainant was aged between 13 and 15 when Hopkins visited her home address after she had been reported missing.

While alone together in the kitchen Hopkins commented she looked old for her age and effectively “gave her the once over” as he looked her up and down, said the prosecutor.

Mr Haworth said the complainant felt “intimidated” when Hopkins asked her for a kiss.

She went to give him a kiss on the cheek but the defendant turned and kissed her on the lips, the court heard.

The teenager went on to have further dealings with the complainant and arrested her on one occasion.

Mr Haworth said that while en route to the police station the defendant remarked to a fellow officer: “How long do you think it will before she is pregnant?”

The prosecutor went on: “He had possession of her mobile phone and he was looking through the content.

“He found pictures stored on her phone which depicted her wearing only her underwear and, the prosecution say, he showed them to his colleague in due course.”

On another occasion, Hopkins approached the complainant in public while in uniform and said to her: “You know what you need, don’t you? A f*** buddy.”

Hopkins, of Whickham Close, Widnes, Cheshire, denies five counts of sexual assault, one count of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and one count of misconduct in a public office.

Sobbing Met cop jailed for 8 months

The Prisons Handbook 2015 – out now  /  Home Page  /  Converse Prison Newspaper

 

Pc Andrew Ott
Pc Andrew Ott

A policeman from Rochester who knocked a man’s tooth out with his riot shield during the 2010 student protests has been jailed for eight months.

Pc Andrew Ott, 36, struck Royal Holloway student William Horner as he tried to break free from a kettled area on Parliament Square, Westminster, London.

Ott was found guilty of one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, but cleared of perverting the course of justice.

At London’s Southwark Crown Court, Ott sobbed in the dock as he was sentenced to eight months in prison.

Judge Jeffrey Pegden told Ott he had carried out “gratuitous and unnecessary violence” and abused his power as a police officer.

The judge told Ott: “This offence was committed in a sterile area, in relative darkness, when you had the victim cornered and no violence was necessary at all.

“An extremely serious aggravating factor is your abuse of power as a police officer.

“You hit him with a full force blow to his face with your shield.

“That was wholly gratuitous, unnecessary violence, and I have considered the stress on William Horner over the last few years.”

Ott wiped his eyes with a tissue while in the dock, and a woman in the public gallery broke down in tears after the sentence was passed.

Ott’s colleagues, Pc Calvin Lindsay and Pc Thomas Barnes, were both cleared of perverting the course of justice.

Jurors heard that Ott was taped on his personal recording device threatening violence towards the crowds that had gathered near the Houses of Parliament and talking about “getting” the protesters.

The assault happened after Ott chased Mr Horner as he tried to scale a fence and was captured on the audio device the police officer had on his uniform.

He was heard saying: “Poked the little c*** right in the eye” and “I’ve had enough of these c****, I just f******* hit him,” the court heard.

The violent protests saw riot police pelted with missiles, including rocks and concrete blocks, and statues in Parliament Square were daubed with graffiti.

No further action was taken against Mr Horner, who was 20 at the time of the attack

Judge Pegden said he had “absolutely no doubt” that policing the protests on December 9 2010 was “frightening, stressful and exhausting”.

But Mr Horner, who was not in court for the sentencing, “simply wanted to go home” and had not committed an offence when he was attacked, the judge added.

In mitigation, Kevin Baumber said his client had been diagnosed with depression and suffered from severe stress.

“Your honour may feel think on that day he was pushed into losing his normally sound judgment in what was a long, tiring and terrifying day,” Mr Baumber said. “It was a day that was traumatic. It was a trauma that still lives with him.”

Ott, who has served as a police officer since 2003, faced the “double jeopardy” of criminal proceedings and disciplinary action and was in danger of losing a career “that is dear to him”, he added.

An investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission found all three officers have a case to answer for gross misconduct and they will face disciplinary hearings by the Metropolitan Police Service.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Fiona Taylor, of the Met Police’s directorate of professionalism, said: “We are naturally disappointed that an MPS officer has been convicted of an assault.

“His behaviour clearly fell well below the high standards we expect of our officers, even in challenging circumstances such as the violent disorder in which this incident occurred, and it is right that he was held to account in the criminal courts.

“His case and that of the other two officers involved will now be subject to the misconduct process. Until this is completed it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.”

Shield-Smash Cop says his alleged victim was “unlucky”

Pc Andrew Ott
Pc Andrew Ott

A policeman who allegedly smashed a man’s tooth out with his riot shield during the 2010 student protests said that it was “unlucky” he had been caught in the mouth.

Pc Andrew Ott, 36, was taped on his personal recording device threatening violence towards the crowds that had gathered near the Houses of Parliament.

It is alleged that when Royal Holloway student William Horner tried to break free from a kettled area on Parliament Square, Ott struck out with his shield, knocking out the student’s tooth.

He is also accused of conspiring with two colleagues to come up with a reason to falsely arrest the student after he was injured.

Recordings captured on the day showed that on a number of occasions Ott had talked about “getting” protesters.

Giving evidence at London’s Southwark Crown Court, he said that after a short break at around 8pm he heard another officer shout out, saying “stop”.

“The shout alerted me and I knew straight away from the tone and pitch, I knew something had happened or was about to happen. I was immediately alerted, I turned to my right and I saw someone running,” said Ott.

Jurors heard that he gave chase, eventually catching up with Mr Horner where he was trying to scale a fence.

Ott continued: “I believed he had done something or was about to do something – I wanted to contain him. I had full knowledge of what I could and couldn’t do and I wasn’t about to start attacking him.

“I bring my shield around – I believe it was on my left arm – and momentum, and also the fact that I bring my shield around my body, I collided with him.”

Jurors heard that Ott used the riot equipment to “create distance” between himself and Mr Horner.

“I struck him with the shield, yes. At that moment in time my threat assessment was high. He was a threat to me – I dealt with it as I saw fit.

“Hindsight is fantastic, would I have done something different? Absolutely. I wouldn’t be here. But I did what I did,” Ott told the court.

He continued: “I struck his upper body. If his head got hit, then it got hit – I didn’t aim for his head. To get a chipped tooth from a shield like that – unlucky.”

The incident was captured on the audio recording device that Ott had on his uniform, as were the clashes that took place earlier in the day.

Jurors heard one clip in which Ott was heard saying: “Poked the little c*** right in the eye”.

He admitted that he had also struck out with his shield on this instance, but added that he had “over-exaggerated” in his description of the incident.

When asked if he had poked the protester in the eye, he replied: “Probably, by accident.”

Ott denies one count of occasioning actual bodily harm, and one count of perverting the course of justice.

Pc Calvin Lindsay and Pc Thomas Barnes, both 31, also stand accused of the second offence.

It is said that after the alleged assault they came up with a reason to arrest Mr Horner and justify the attack.

Ott explained that on December 9, officers were under “intense attack” from the crowds that had gathered to protest against the increase in tuition fees, and described one particular protester as a “nightmare”.

The violent protests saw riot police pelted with missiles including rocks and concrete blocks, and statues in Parliament Square being daubed with graffiti.

Although questioned by police, no further action was taken against Mr Horner in connection with the incident.

Ott, of Rochester, Kent, denies one charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and a further charge of perverting the course of justice.

Lindsay, of Leytonstone, east London, and Barnes, of Greenhithe, Kent, both deny perverting the course of justice.

All three men are on restricted duties pending the outcome of proceedings. The trial continues.