Police slush fund for informers/killers,did a deal with copycat Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe for his confessions.
Corrupt police: Shock revelations
By Tony Gardner
Published on Friday 22 July 2011 09:20
A web of West Yorkshire police corruption derailed a major murder inquiry.
Officers from North Yorkshire trying to investigate the scale of the conspiracy met with silence.
One detective involved in the probe had his home broken into and documents relating to the case stolen, it was revealed in a court hearing.
In desperation the inquiry moved its headquarters to a secure military base.
The revelations were made by a senior officer in charge of the six-year inquiry into how detectives in Wakefield handled the murder of Joe Smales, 85, and attack on his brother Bert, 68, in 1996.
A Supreme Court ruling on Wednesday, July 20, revealed the “shocking and appalling” misconduct of police as they conspired to pervert the course of justice at the trial of Paul Maxwell and Daniel Mansell.
West Yorkshire Police yesterday (July 21) said it has now voluntarily referred the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
The murder trial key prosecution witness Karl Chapman was allowed to visit a brothel, have sex with a policewoman and take heroin and cannabis in the company of officers in exchange for giving evidence against the two men.
More than £3m of taxpayers’ money was spent on the case.
Maxwell and Mansell’s conviction was quashed in 2009 as a result of the “tainted” and “corrupt” investigation. Maxwell pleaded guilty to murder and robbery before his due to take place last month but Mansell is now free.
In a hearing held prior to Maxwell’s re-trial, Peter McKay, a former Det Chief Supt with North Yorkshire Police, told Leeds Crown Court he recommended the officers in the original Smales inquiry should face criminal charges.
The probe looked at the conduct of some of the highest ranking officers in the force - including the then chief constable, Colin Cramphorn, and assistant chie f constable Phillip Briers.
Some officers refused to co-operate in the investigation. One detective inspector told officers: “I’m going to France, leave me alone.”
The probe was launched at the behest of the Criminal Cases Review Commission after the YEP revealed back in 2001 how £100,000 had been set aside for supergrass Chapman upon his release from prison.
Mr McKay said he had “never seen anything like it” in 20 years as a senior officer.
The court heard vast amounts of documents, tapes and other information vital to the case had been destroyed. Some of the information may even have been destroyed after West Yorkshire Police had been given official notice to preserve evidence.
Mr McKay said: “Some documents could not be recovered, which I was surprised about. We searched a number of police stations. I have my suspicions as to where they went.”
Mr McKay said one of the officers working on the probe had his home in York broken into. Intruders stole documents but nothing else was taken and the decision was made to relocate their inquiry base from police buildings to property owned by the RAF.
It took the operation Douglas team SEVEN months before they could finally arrange an interview with the then West Yorkshire Police chief constable Colin Cramphorn. Mr McKay said his questions to him about the Smales investigations were met with “direct and curt replies”.
The then Deputy Chief Constable Phil Briers was also spoken to.
Mr McKay said: “He had signed a large amount of money for the informant [Karl Chapman]. I had to tell him ‘I will be interviewing you as a witness, maybe under caution.’”
He added: “Some of their actions were frustrating. We were persona non grata - officers coming in from a foreign force. People were not making themselves available. We were also having problems with the hierarchy of West Yorkshire Police.”
Maxwell’s barrister Patrick O’Connor said: “One of the most striking aspects of the saga is the extent to which this many officers, and these senior officers, seemed to have behaved with apparent impunity between themselves.
“They seemed to act as if they had no fear that one of their colleagues was going to inform on them and bring their conduct to a halt. They trust each other implicitly didn’t they?”
Mr McKay said some of the officers were “results driven” and “not very concerned with procedures.”
He added: “With regards to senior officers, it is clear that there could be more professional auditing, tasking and checking but there wasn’t. That culture seemed to permeate throughout the inquiry.”
Asked why criminal prosecutions or disciplinary procedures were not brought against some officers, Mr McKay said: “I completed files to the CPS and I am somewhat surprised some of the police officers were not prosecuted. I cannot comment on the disciplinary procedures.”