Sex cop spared jail

PC Simon Abell
PC Simon Abell

A Pc who sent sexually inappropriate texts and Facebook messages to a woman he met in his capacity as a serving officer walked free from court today.

Intelligence officer Pc Simon Abell was handed a six-month sentence, suspended for one year, at Nottingham Crown Court after pleading guilty to misconduct in a public office at an earlier hearing.

The court was told he sent inappropriate texts and Facebook messages between November 4, 2011 and the end of August 2012 to a woman he met in his capacity as a police constable.

Sentencing the 42-year-old, Judge Michael Stokes, Recorder of Nottingham, said: “You have pleaded guilty to a single offence of misconduct in a public office, which is always a serious offence.

“You were at the relevant time, and had been for over 20 years, a serving police officer.

“It is always a matter of regret and gravity when a police officer offends in this way.

“A police officer is in a position of trust in relation to all members of the community who he serves.”

The court heard Abell, who was based at Sutton-in-Ashfield in Nottinghamshire, had been a serving officer for 23 and a half years.

The judge said: “It is quite inappropriate for a police officer to be engaging with someone who started as a potential witness in this sort of sexual innuendo.”

The court heard the complainant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, initiated contact with the officer in 2011 by sending him a Facebook message after being a potential witness in an earlier case.

She asked him in the Facebook message, sent on November 5, whether he remembered her.

Father-of-two Abell, from Sutton-in-Ashfield, replied: “Hi of course i remember a sexy lady like you. I remembered you in an instant xx. I was coming to see you, as i remember, then you didn’t invite me lol.”

A flurry of texts and Facebook messages between the pair then commenced.

The court heard that he had met the woman when she was a potential witness in a police investigation but at the time of the offences that case had been discontinued.

The matter came to the attention of the Professional Standards Directorate in September 2012 after a friend of the complainant handed a CD with screenshots of Facebook messages between Abell and the woman into Mansfield Police Station.

Abell, who appeared in the dock wearing a blue shirt, striped tie and black trousers and was seen to hold his head in his hands at times during today’s hearing, was arrested in January 2013.

He was suspended from Nottinghamshire Police and resigned in May this year after pleading guilty to misconduct in a public office at Nottingham Crown Court.

The 42-year-old pleaded not guilty to two further misconduct charges of sexually inappropriate behaviour between November 4, 2011 and December 31, 2011, and on August 2, 2012.

The prosecution agreed that no further action should be taken against the officer, who has been suspended by his force, on the further charges.

In mitigation today, Harpreet Sandhu said: “He had not only lost his occupation but he had effectively lost his reputation. He is lucky that those who know him have stood by him”.

Abell’s partner and ex-wife were in court for the sentencing.

Mr Sandhu added that his client had shown “genuine remorse”.

He said: “The regret is not for him but for those who he has placed in a precarious position due to his offending”.

The judge noted that the complainant had initiated the contact but said she had been “undeniably vulnerable” and that Abell had “taken advantage” of that vulnerability.

He handed Abell a six-month custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months.

The former officer was also ordered to carry out 150 hours unpaid work for the benefit of the community over the next 12 months.

Speaking after today’s hearing, Detective Superintendent Jackie Alexander, head of the Force’s Professional Standards Directorate, said: “Abell should have been there to protect vulnerable people and uphold the law but instead he abused his position and failed to meet the high standards of integrity and professionalism that we expect from all our officers and employees.

“We need to acknowledge that in all professions there will be a minority of individuals who try and use their position for abuse or sexual exploitation, and sadly this will, on occasion, also include these who work in policing. It is only by acknowledging this fact, and ensuring that where there is any suggestion of abuse a transparent and professional investigation is conducted, that we can then reassure the public that we continue to deserve their trust and confidence.

“Simon Abell not only acted criminally towards a vulnerable person, but he also let down the vast number of officers and staff who are committed to helping and supporting people in their time of need. I hope that this case does reassure the people of Nottinghamshire that we are actively committed to identifying and rooting out these kinds of behaviour when they occur.”

Three homophobic bullying cops sacked

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Three police officers have been sacked for “deeply offensive” sexism and homophobia following a disciplinary hearing.

Det Sgt Mark Hall, Det Con Andy Holt, and Pc Colin Campbell were dismissed by Hampshire police after it received complaints from colleagues of “bullying and inappropriate behaviour”.

The officers, all based at Havant, were referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and dismissed for gross misconduct with immediate effect following a formal hearing on Wednesday (April 30).

Chief Constable Andy Marsh said: “The detail of these allegations was extremely serious in nature. The subsequent investigation uncovered evidence of grossly inappropriate and offensive behaviour centred on homophobic and sexist comments about colleagues within the force.

“I find the behaviour that we uncovered detestable. It is not something that I will tolerate within Hampshire Constabulary.”

An IPCC spokeswoman confirmed that the issue was referred to it in November last year and it agreed to supervise the force’s investigation.

IPCC Commissioner Jennifer Izekor said: “The language and behaviours of these officers displayed deeply offensive homophobic and sexist attitudes towards others. Their casual and repeated use of demeaning language demonstrated a complete lack of respect for their colleagues and the force can only be stronger without them.

“They have no place in policing and their behaviour fell well below the standards expected by the people of Hampshire. I am satisfied that this case was treated with the seriousness it deserves by Hampshire Police and want to commend the force on the thorough and robust nature of their investigation once these allegations emerged.

“I endorse the action they have taken in dismissing these officers.”

Plebgate Cop Sacked

Plodgate

A police constable who was on duty in Downing Street has been sacked over leaks to the press linked to the Plebgate row, Scotland Yard said.

Gillian Weatherley was found to have breached standards of professional behaviour in relation to honesty and integrity; orders and instructions; confidentiality; discreditable conduct and challenging and reporting improper conduct in a three-day misconduct hearing.

She was on duty in Downing Street on the day of the confrontation between then-chief whip Andrew Mitchell and fellow constable Toby Rowland in September 2012.

The next day, Weatherley sent a photograph of an email that Rowland had sent to his bosses about the row to another officer, James Glanville. He was later sacked for leaking the information to the Sun newspaper.

Weatherley was found guilty of gross misconduct after the hearing before a panel which included an independent representative, a Superintendent and Commander Julian Bennett.

As well as sending the photograph to Glanville, Scotland Yard said Weatherley went on to exchange 12 text messages with him in the days following the confrontation, all of which she later deleted.

The force said she had given ” inaccurate and misleading” statements to officers investigating the aftermath of the row, and had been suspended from duty since her arrest in February last year. Prosecutors have already decided not to press charges.

Another two officers, also from the diplomatic protection group, are due to face gross misconduct proceedings in the coming weeks.

The next hearing will begin on Thursday, for another Pc accused of denying he had been in contact with Keith Wallis, a fellow officer who was jailed and sacked for sending his MP an email in which he pretended to have witnessed the Downing Street confrontation.

A third constable will face her gross misconduct hearing on May 20, where she will be accused of giving false statements to the police investigation into Plebgate.

It is claimed she knew about Wallis’s email and her partner leaked information to the Sun. The hearings are taking place in private as dictated by statute, but Mr Mitchell was invited to attend and Scotland Yard said it would publicise details of the decisions made.

The only misconduct hearing the force has previously held in public is that of Pc Simon Harwood, who was sacked after the death of newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson, when it was ordered to do so by police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Mr Mitchell said: “Disciplinary hearings in the Metropolitan Police are held in private and therefore I am limited in what I can say – at this stage.

“What I can say today is that I felt the hearing was well-conducted.

“This gross misconduct hearing was in respect of police officer Gillian Weatherley, who first obstructed my exit from Downing Street on September 19 2012 in breach of clear instructions from the head of Downing Street security.

“I hope the transcript of the inquiry and its supporting evidence will be published in full in the interests of openness and accountability.

“This case has serious consequences for the Government, the police and every citizen in this country.”

Two corrupt cops sacked

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Two Nottinghamshire police officers have been sacked after allowing a meeting between a prisoner and his girlfriend while he was being questioned.

The force said the officers had “facilitated a meeting between a prisoner and his girlfriend while questioning him about further crimes, and then lied about their actions”.

The men, aged 52 and 54, who worked at Nottingham’s Bridewell station, were dismissed for gross misconduct.

Both officers subsequently lodged an appeal against their dismissal, but the original decision has now been upheld.

In a statement confirming the outcome of the appeal, Nottinghamshire Police said: “An internal investigation was launched after questions were raised about unauthorised contact between the prisoner and his partner.

“Both officers admitted breaching standards of honesty and integrity and were also found to have committed discreditable conduct.”

Two Corrupt West Midlands Cops Jailed

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Two corrupt police officers caught in an internal sting operation stealing cash and cigarettes have been jailed for 20 weeks.

Mark Davis, 31, and 33-year-old Neil Samuels, had each previously admitted a single count of theft of hundreds of Marlboro cigarettes and £10 cash apiece before appearing for sentencing at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court today.

Jailing the pair, District Judge David Robinson said their crime was “a gross breach of trust” adding the “impact of such offending on public confidence is high”.

The two serving police officers were caught stealing after they were the focus of a targeted integrity check by their employer West Midlands Police’s counter corruption unit, which was acting on a tip-off.

Both Davis and Samuels had previously pleaded guilty in February to theft of 400 cigarettes with each haul worth a total of £179.80, after they carried out what they believed to be a bona fide house search in July 2013.

Davis, of Clent Road in Oldbury, West Midlands, who has been with the police force six years, and Samuels, of Croft Lane, Wolverhampton, who has been employed for 11 years, have been suspended since the allegations surfaced and are now set to lose their jobs following a professional standards process.

Defence barrister Mark Kelly, offering mitigation for the pair, said Samuels had taken the cash to buy a “peace-offering” for his wife as their relationship had been under strain.

He added Davis had been coping with “a mild-to-severe” depressive illness, added to by “difficulties with his ex-partner which has had a significant impact on him”.

Both men, added Mr Kelly, were simply going to share the cigarettes out “with friends” and had not stolen for financial gain.

He also said any jail term would have a big impact of the men, who both had young families to support.

The operation to snare the two, both employed as response officers covering Sandwell in the West Midlands, was launched after information was handed to their employer in April 2013.

Mr Robinson, in sentencing, set out in detail how the two men were caught out.

He said the officers had been briefed that a male suspect had been arrested by officers from neighbouring Warwickshire Police and they were then sent by their superiors to search that man’s home and seize evidence.

“What you did not know was that you were the subject of a covert monitoring integrity investigation set up to record and observe how you behaved,” said Mr Robinson.

The two did seize property for the mock investigation and returned to the police station, before filling out false reports of what they had collected.

Mr Robinson said: “You intended to mislead Warwickshire Police about what had been seized – you were later stopped and arrested.

“It was a joint offence you executed together.

“In my view it was calculated – that is apparent from the discussion recorded together (in the house); the property you decided to take, and the way you equally divided the property.

“You falsified not only the search records but the witness statement, and you did all this believing that or knowing that if circumstances were as you believed them, this could have impeded a critical investigation with all the consequences that might have had to the individual you believed to be in custody, and of course for justice itself.”

Mr Robinson added: “Both of you have suffered recent events in your life that have caused distress.”

He also accepted Davis and Samuels felt “genuine remorse” for what they themselves had described as a “terrible mistake”.

However, sentencing the pair – as relatives in the public gallery burst into tears – he said: “In my view, these offences are so serious that neither a fine, a community order, or a suspended sentence order can be justified.

“For the offence of theft you will each serve 20 weeks – half in prison, and half on licence.”

A legal restriction barring reporting of Davis’ address was lifted after an application by the Press Association.

thames

A former police constable will stand trial today (2nd January) accused of selling personal data from her force’s computer system.

Sugra Hanif, 27, of Bretch Hill, Banbury, Oxfordshire, faces two counts of obtaining and disclosing personal data from Thames Valley Police’s command and control systems and conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office.

She will appear at Winchester Crown Court alongside Raza Khan, 27, of Ivy Road, Handsworth, Birmingham, who is charged with conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office and obtaining personal data, and his wife, Paramjeet Kaur, 26, from the same address, who is charged with conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office.

It is alleged that between January 2011 and December 2011, Hanif sold information about accident victims to Khan and Kaur.

All three deny the charges.

Cop Gets 19 Years For Rapes

Wayne Scott headshot

An ex-policeman has been jailed for 19 years for a string of serious sex crimes.

Wayne Scott, 37, was convicted of rape and the attempted rape of a woman after a five-day trial, having already admitted raping a different woman seven times over a number of years.

He also confessed to two common assaults, one sexual assault and two counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual touching.

Sentencing Scott at Newcastle Crown Court, Judge James Goss QC described him as manipulative, controlling and domineering.

“Your offending has had an enormous impact on the wellbeing, confidence and lives of those against whom you offended, destroying their lives,” he said.

His offences came to light after he was dismissed by Cleveland Police when a member of the public complained about him touching her sexually while he was on duty.

Although he was not prosecuted for that offence, the publicity led other women to come forward and make complaints.

Speaking after the sentence, Detective Superintendent Peter McPhillips of Cleveland Police said: “I’m really pleased with the sentence today. Wayne Scott is a sexual deviant and a predator who manipulated his victims and had a significant detrimental impact on their lives.

“Yet he has never exhibited any remorse and he does not appear to understand the horrific nature of his crimes.

“I would like to pay tribute to all of his victims, in particular those who we managed to trace and who were brave enough to provide us with the details of his crimes.”

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Judge Goss said Scott would serve 15 years in custody and also passed a sexual offences prevention order and placed him on the sex offenders register.

A statement from one of his victims was read out saying she was worried about his release as he had already tried to contact her since being in prison.

On hearing his fate, Scott became unsteady on his feet, first bending over before sinking into his seat.

His appearances in the dock had been characterised by attempts to mouth words, sobbing and hanging his head.

Since his arrest, the 37-year-old, formerly of Stockton, Teesside, has twice tried to kill himself – jumping from a prison balcony and leaping from a moving vehicle while on his way to a medical examination.

Senior officers have said there are allegations from eight more victims that did not make it to court and they have again appealed for any other victims to come forward.

Mr McPhillips said: “I hope this sentence will send a positive message to victims of sexual abuse, that we will listen to them and together with our partners work with them to bring offenders to justice.

“I would again appeal to anyone who believes they were a victim of Wayne Scott to contact officers.”

Rapist Cop To Be Sentenced Today

Wayne Scott headshot

A rapist ex-policeman will be sentenced today for a string of serious sex crimes.

Wayne Scott’s offending came to light after he was dismissed by Cleveland Police when a member of the public complained about him touching her sexually while he was on duty.

Although he was not prosecuted for that offence, the publicity led other women to come forward and make complaints.

Following a trial at Newcastle Crown Court the disgraced PC was last month convicted of rape and attempted rape. He had already admitted seven counts of rape on another woman.

In addition, he confessed to two common assaults, one sexual assault and two counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual touching.

And senior officers believed there could be more victims who have yet to come forward, with one estimate being that he preyed on 11 women.

Scott, formerly of Stockton, Teesside, has made two attempts on his life after his arrest.

The 37-year-old jumped from a prison balcony and on another occasion leapt from a moving vehicle while on his way to a medical examination.

After the five-day trial, Detective Superintendent Peter McPhillips, of Cleveland Police, said: ”Wayne Scott is a sexual predator who has been a disgrace to the office of constable, and deserves to be behind bars.

“Scott was arrested in August 2011 following on-duty allegations, and subsequently suspended and dismissed.

“Our objective since has been to discover whether his behaviour was more widespread and to protect the public from him. That objective has now been achieved.

“The offences for which Scott has been convicted of today occurred off duty but as a police officer he knew better than most the severity of his crimes.

”He was a disgrace to his uniform and there can be no place for people like him in the police service.”

Judge James Goss, the Recorder of Newcastle, remanded him in custody at the last hearing to allow for reports to be prepared ahead of sentencing.

Corrupt ‘Fit-Up’ Cop Jailed

Daniel-Withnell

A former police officer who accepted a bribe to plant a shotgun in a bid to frame a man has been jailed for four years, police said.

Daniel Withnell, 31, was approached by Claire Smethurst to put the weapon in the man’s car for £19,000 between September 30 and October 30 last year.

He admitted two counts of misconduct in a public office and perverting the course of justice at an earlier hearing and was today jailed at Manchester Crown Court.

Withnell, of Cranark Close in Bolton, also sent a fake tip-off by text to an officer on March 16, in which he claimed a hitman had been offered money to kill him.

He also used his position to access the force’s database to research a money laundering investigation, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said.

Smethurst, 48, of Westhoughton, Bolton, was found guilty of of perverting the course and was given a 15 month suspended sentence for her role in the plot at the same court on October 9, the force added.

Assistant Chief Constable Dawn Copley said: “The conduct of former DC Daniel Withnell fell well short of what is expected of a police officer.

“Police officers, staff and the communities of Greater Manchester would be appalled by his actions, which detract from the hard work that our officers and staff do on a daily basis.

“GMP expects the very highest standards of all its officers and staff. They should be honest and act with integrity and should not compromise or abuse their position.

“As soon as this conduct came to light, the Professional Standards Branch carried out a thorough investigation, supervised by the IPCC and as a result Mr Withnell has been convicted of two counts of misconduct in public office and perverting the course of justice and Ms Smethurst has been convicted of perverting the course of justice.”

Mark Leech, editor of Converse the national newspaper for prisoners in England and Wales said Withnell faced a dangerous time in jail.

“Going to jail as a former cop is dangerous at any time, but going to jail as a former cop jailed for trying to fit up an innocent man and send him to jail marks Withnell out as a man with a price on his head.

“Withnell is the worst kind of corrupt cop, a loathsome individual who was willing to sacrifice the freedom of an innocent man in exchange for cash – a despicable low life whose past criminal arrests and convictions should now be the subject of review lest he has done this before – and got away with it.”

Corrupt cop jailed

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A former police sergeant has been jailed for 10 months for trying to sell a story about celebrity Katie Price’s daughter to the News of the World.

James Bowes contacted the now defunct Sunday tabloid newspaper and told a journalist that police child protection officers had gone to the home of Price’s former husband Peter Andre in Brighton.

This followed a report that the couple’s daughter, Princess Tiaamii, then aged two, had been injured in 2010, the Old Bailey heard.

The team found no untoward injuries to the child and the matter was not taken further, the court was told.

But Bowes, who worked for in Brighton for Sussex Police, emailed the newspaper asking for money for the information.

The story was printed with information from another source and Bowes was never paid.

Bowes, 30, from Steyning, West Sussex, pleaded guilty last month to misconduct in public office.

The court heard that he passed information to the Sun newspaper about a child who was bitten by a fox and was paid £500.

And he passed on details of a psychic who had contacted police about a search for bodies in two former Brighton homes in 2010 of serial killer Peter Tobin, but was not paid.

Bowes was charged by officers from Operation Elveden, the Metropolitan Police investigation into police corruption.

Mr Justice Fulford told Bowes: “You have made available to the press confidential information concerning children.

“Your explanation is that it was a foolish attempt by you to be in some part associated with notorious or high-profile cases.”

Bowes had abused his position of trust and undermined the relationship the police had with the public.

Stephen Wedd, defending, said Bowes had now given £500 to the Crimestoppers charity, and had been dismissed by Sussex Police.

Mark Bryant-Heron, prosecuting, told the court that Bowes had access to the police computer to get information about the three reports in 2010.

Andre and Price had separated and there was a report of injuries to the couple’s daughter.

“The child protection team established no untoward injuries,” said Mr Bryant-Heron.

The following day Bowes emailed the News of the World news desk but was told that the newspaper already had the information.

“Clearly, the News of the World had access to other sources for information,” he added.

Bowes had emailed the Sun after a fox attacked a child at a birthday party and was paid after providing the contact details of the parents.

The father told the court he had to move his family away from their home until the fuss died down after the story was printed.

He also contacted the newspaper about the psychic who was later contacted by a journalist.

No story was published and Bowes was not paid, but the psychic said she had lost confidence in the police.

Mr Bryant-Heron told the court the child protection team “established very quickly that there were no bruises or injuries” to Tiaamii.

He said: “Peter Andre has made a statement saying he was hurt and embarrassed by the story.”