Kidnap victim to sue Met police after secret documents reveal Flying Squad corruption
Paul Gallagher is a reporter for the Independent and Independent on Sunday having joined the group in 2012. He has previously worked for the European Voice, Daily Mirror and the Observer and been based in Brussels, Belfast, Tokyo and London.
Thursday 10 April 2014
A cash van driver and his ex-partner - who was kidnapped by criminals and held for a £50,000 ransom - say they intend to to sue Scotland Yard after they discovered 20 years later that Flying Squad officers sent to investigate allegedly plotted to repeat the robbery on them.
The victims spoke of their outrage today after the BBC showed the pair information from two secret intelligence reports from the mid-1990s that were thought shredded by the Met in 2002. They had been unaware of the extraordinary allegations until this week.
The driver, John, whose surname is being withheld for legal reasons, recalled an officer named in the reports. He said: “He was very friendly, which made me feel relaxed. They were getting personal on what time I leave in the morning. But because they are police officers you believe them to be concerned about you. Seeing the names now just rakes you. You can’t trust people.”
The officers met John five days after he had been ordered to fill £50,000 in a suitcase to secure his partner’s release in a heist known as a ‘tiger kidnap’. It was then that the group of officers allegedly plotted to repeat the crime targeting the same victims. Knowing they would be tasked with investigating the second identical case, they would have been investigating themselves enabling them to get away with it.
The alleged plot included the duplication of a distinctive ring at a jewellers, which was to be shown to John to convince him his partner had again been taken prisoner.
One of the intelligence reports said: “Information was received that officers attached to the Flying Squad were involved in the planning and commission of armed robberies and other criminal acts. The van driver was to be approached and shown a ring belonging to his [partner].”
The plot was abandoned only when anti-corruption police learned of the conspiracy and began investigating the Flying Squad officers and tapping their phones, it is understood.
Victim ‘John’ said the police officers appeared friendly
The report continues: “[The driver’s] house keys would be taken and one of the ‘gang’ would leave and return with his wife’s ring and tell the driver she would be hurt if he did not do as instructed. This scenario has allegedly been used on one other occasion by the officer when he netted £40,000.”
John said he was shocked not to have informed of the alleged plot at the time. He said: “I would have wanted to know the lot. Was I put under threat? Was in danger? The Met should have told me. I have been failed by the police.”
The female victim, who asked not to be named, was traced to west Africa where she now lives.
She told the BBC: “I was horrified when I was told. I felt sick and had to sit down. I can’t get it through my head that somebody could be so evil to do such a thing after what John and I had gone through.
“Some people will do anything for money. Those officers were making out that they were helping us – it’s just incredible that police we trusted could behave like this.”
Recalling the allegedly corrupt officers, she said: “It was as if the police were trying to accuse John of being part of it. They took all his property and clothes - it was horrendous.”
The woman’s kidnapping was so traumatic that she refused to leave the house for a long time and the couple eventually split up. She still wears her distinctive ring.
The woman said: “I intend to sue the Metropolitan Police. As far as I’m concerned it's negligence.”
Set up almost a century ago, the Flying Squad investigates armed robberies. Some of the most famous cases have included the Great Train Robbery and the Millennium Dome raid in 2000.
Ex-Flying Squad Commander Roy Ram, now retired, said the alleged conspiracy was a “betrayal” of his former unit. He said: “What's extraordinary is that this is not police officers stealing the proceeds of somebody else’s criminal act. If this is true, this is police officers conspiring to commit a really serious criminal offence themselves - the kind of offence the rest of their colleagues were fighting hard against.
“I have never heard of anything audacious as this. I have never seen anything where police officers were producing material that would help them, such as this ring.”
A Met spokesman said the force would get in touch with the victims. He said: “The Met’s anti-corruption team investigated an alleged plot to carry out a robbery which involved corrupt police officers. The intelligence was thoroughly investigated and a decision made to disrupt the attempted robbery by ensuring those involved became aware police were following them.”
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