Police officers sabotaged child sex abuse investigations through laziness and ‘cynical disdain’ for accusers, court hears

Prosecutors claim Essex detectives scuppered probes by destroying evidence and forging documents

Tom Barnes
Thursday 17 January 2019 17:55
Lee Pollard and Sharon Patterson each deny three counts of misconduct in a public office
Lee Pollard and Sharon Patterson each deny three counts of misconduct in a public office

Two police officers sabotaged several child sex abuse investigations out of “cynical distain” for the accusers by destroying evidence and fabricating witness statements, a court has heard.

Detective constables Sharon Patterson, 49, and Lee Pollard, 47, are accused of collapsing a series of cases by telling their superiors false information over a three-year period.

The Old Bailey heard on Thursday how the Essex Police officers, who were in a relationship, went “beyond incompetence” by ruining investigations through “laziness” and attempts at “self-preservation”.

Alexandra Healy, prosecuting, told the court allegations against the pair included the forging of documents, concealment of evidence and misrepresenting investigations to supervising officers.

“The effect was that allegations involving child sex offences were not properly investigated,” she said.

“The motivation appears to have been a combination of laziness, self-preservation and sometimes a cynical disdain for complainants in these child abuse allegations.”

The officers, who live together in Colchester, Essex, each deny three counts of misconduct in a public office between 2011 and 2014.

The allegations came to light when performance reviews were carried out into the child abuse investigation team, in the north of the county, which they worked in.

Ms Healy told the court Ms Patterson and Mr Pollard’s behaviour had gone “beyond incompetence“ and was not because of a “lack of resources” or “insufficient investigative manpower”.

Ms Patterson is accused of falsely representing evidence to her supervisor so no further action was taken against a male suspect and of fabricating a witness statement.

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She also allegedly created a false Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) document to deceive her supervisor into thinking a decision had been taken not to charge a second male.

Mr Pollard allegedly removed and destroyed four photographs that were “important exhibits” to an investigation and misrepresented evidence to his supervisor so no further action was taken in a separate probe.

The trial continues.

Additional reporting by PA

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