Soham officer held again over alibi

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The Independent Online

A police officer from Soham who was cleared of child pornography charges was rearrested yesterday on suspicion of lying about his alibi.

A clerk for the Crown Prosecution Service who is believed to have provided the alibi for Detective Constable Brian Stevens, was also arrested. She is said to have told police that she was with DC Stevens, who worked with the family of the murdered schoolgirl Jessica Chapman, on the night he was alleged to have downloaded child pornography from the internet.

Louise Austin, 32, and DC Stevens, 42, both of whom have been suspended, were questioned yesterday by police from the West Midlands force on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.

Charges against DC Stevens were dropped at Southwark Crown Court last month. He was cleared of five charges of possessing indecent photographs of children, three charges of distributing indecent photographs of children and three charges of indecently assaulting girls under the age of 16.

The Cambridgeshire police officer was cleared of the pornography charges after evidence was found to contain "substantial errors".

Ms Austin had told DC Stevens' legal team he stayed at her house in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, in June last year at the time he was alleged to have downloaded pornographic pictures about 100 miles away in Oxfordshire.

Ms Austin works in Cambridge and is said to have had a relationship with the officer before he was married.

A spokeswoman for West Midlands Police, who investigated the original allegation, said yesterday: "This morning we arrested a man and a woman from the Cambridge area for offences of perverting the course of justice. Those two people will be interviewed during the day."