Anti-terror officer 'used force credit card in sex shop'

A debt-ridden anti-terrorist squad officer squandered thousands of pounds of taxpayers' cash in sex shops and on holidays and clothing, a court heard today.



In fact Matthew Washington, 37, began misusing his Met-issued Amex credit card almost as soon as he got it, it was claimed.

London's Southwark Crown Court was told he first spent more than £350 on clothes from Next, T M Lewin and Marks & Spencer.

Stephen Winberg, prosecuting, said over the next 15 months the detective constable "completely disregarded" police regulations which clearly stated he could use the card only for "travel and subsistence purposes".

"The total expenditure from July, August 2006 to September 2007 was £19,237.95, of which at least approximately £12,500 was unauthorised expenditure," the barrister alleged.

"Of this some £7,000 was withdrawn in cash."

He said apart from clothing the officer allegedly misused the card "to fund holidays, for example to Euro Disney, travel, food shopping and personal expenses

"Particularly indicative of this, I am afraid, is the purchase of five items ... from a sex shop in Soho.

"The question I pose to you on the Crown's behalf and you may pose in due course, members of the jury, is what part of his job description did Mr Washington at the time - Dc Washington as he then was - think he was fulfilling by using the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) card in a sex shop in Soho?

"The Crown are not saying there is anything wrong going to a sex shop, but you do not use a card given by your employers for travel and subsistence purposes."

The barrister continued: "It really shows how far Mr Washington was prepared to go. Whatever may be said to you about his record keeping, the guidelines or whether he read them properly, surely no-one would need to know the guidelines to know an MPS-produced card should not be used for such purposes."

Washington, whose address or photograph cannot be published for legal reasons, denies one count of misconduct in public office between July 1 2006 and October 5 the following year.

Opening what is expected to be a four-day trial, Mr Winberg told the court the Met struck a deal with American Express to supply certain officers with a corporate charge card.

"The reason ... was that previously officers had had to pay bills for accommodation and travel and so on and claim the money back, and this had led to delay and some officers being out of pocket."

Washington, he said, duly applied for a card and signed a declaration acknowledging it was to be used only in connection with his job.

Like others, counsel insisted, he would have been aware all expenditure had to be properly "reconciled" and backed up by receipts.

His application was duly approved and a card sent to him in July 2006.

"He first used the Amex card on August 9, and the Crown say it is apparent from records of its use that right from the outset he was using the card in complete disregard of the regulations."

The barrister claimed from then until his arrest, the defendant carried out no "card reconciliation whatsoever".

When first interviewed, Washington read out a prepared statement explaining that during the period covered by the indictment he had been engaged in "very sensitive and high-profile investigations with periods away from home, working very long hours with not much personal time".

But that, said counsel, was something the Crown was not "wholly" prepared to accept.

The detective also mentioned "he had been through an upsetting divorce and his son had had cancer which had weighed heavily on his mind and this had caused him to lose track of his expenses".

He went on to explain he could not recall ever seeing or signing the card regulations, although it was "his understanding" he could use it for private expenditure provided he paid the money back.

"He said he couldn't say how he got this view but it was probably reinforced by conversations with fellow officers."

News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
News
people''Women's rights is too often synonymous with man-hating'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments