Ex-police officer Rachel Hewitt jailed for cancer lie

 

A former police officer who lied about her daughter having cancer so she could take her to show jumping events was jailed today.

Rachel Hewitt, 39, of South Elmsall in West Yorkshire, claimed her teenage daughter was having chemotherapy for a tumour and had been critically ill in intensive care.

North Yorkshire Police gave her compassionate leave, special shifts and colleagues even organised whip-rounds to buy the family gifts.

But her daughter was actually taking part in equestrian contests, which Hewitt took her to after telling a "pack of lies", Hull Crown Court heard.

Jailing Hewitt for 18 months, the judge said she had shown an "extreme breach of trust" by spinning lie after lie for around two years before she was arrested last October.

The mother-of-two was also granted time off from her role, for which she got a salary of up to £29,400, after claiming she had swine flu and other serious illness, Simon Batiste, prosecuting, told the court.

"It is implicit in the job of police officer that the public expect the highest level of honesty and integrity from the officers who serve the community," he said.

"Sadly, in this case, the defendant, by deliberately fabricating emotive family problems to obtain time off, then a career break, acted wholly dishonestly and her behaviour fell far below that standard expected by the public."

He said Hewitt took "considerable periods off from work" and was put on a four-day week after claiming her daughter, Natasha, 15, had the life-threatening illness and pretending she had also developed other conditions during her treatment.

"On May 1 2010, she indicated her daughter had been hospitalised with pneumonia and would undergo treatment on May 7. In fact, her daughter was competing that very day at the Port Royal Showground," he said, adding that Hewitt's two daughters were "keen and successful showjumpers and actively involved in the showjumping circuit".

On another occasion, in January last year, Hewitt claimed Natasha had been in intensive care for eight days after suffering a life-threatening infection, and was granted compassionate leave.

"In fact, that weekend, Natasha was acting as a groom to a friend at an equestrian event," said Mr Batiste.

Hewitt was arrested at her home and made no comment during police interviews.

She pleaded guilty to fraud and misconduct in a public office.

She denied a further charge of fraud relating to a career break at a previous hearing and the Crown agreed not to proceed with the charge.

Heidi Cotton, representing Hewitt, said the defendant accepted "deliberately fabricating evocative family problems", which was reflected in her plea.

Jailing Hewitt, who no longer works for the force, for 18 months, Judge Simon Jack said: "We have a very good police force in this country and they rely very heavily on trust.

"Your actions have undermined the trust the police officers place in each other and they will no doubt undermine to some extent at least the trust members of the public place in the police.

"If a police officer has been seen to be telling a pack of lies, even if not directly to the public, that clearly undermines the faith the public have in the police.

"I don't accept that you got locked into a pattern of lies. It's perfectly clear that not only did your lies go on for a long period of time, they involved new lies.

"Nobody thought for a moment somebody would lie about something so serious, so emotive as the health of their child. That's why you got away with it for so long."

PA

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own