Saturday, March 02, 2013

British Detective accused of selling stolen drugs for hundreds of thousands of pounds 'was cheating on his wife with his ex-fiancee'

A 'corrupt' detective constable accused of making thousands of pounds from selling drugs that had been seized in raids was cheating on his wife with his ex-fiancee, a court has heard.

Detective Con Nicholas McFadden, 38, had an on-off affair with colleague Tanya Strangeway after they called off their engagement in June 2006, his trial was told on Wednesday.

DC McFadden's wife, Clair, and Ms Strangeway, both gave gave evidence, one after the other, at Leeds Crown Court - telling the jury how he had began spending large amounts of money on them.

The policeman is currently on trial accused of stealing heroin, cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis and then plotting with his older brother Simon, 41, to supply the drugs. They are alleged to have made around £600,000.

Ms Strangeway told how she had started seeing him when he was newly married to Clair, but that they had ended it when she became pregnant.

She said: 'We had been happy but both of us had had debts. I guess I blamed Nick for those debts but I did have my own credit card debts and had a loan I needed to pay back.

'I brought the relationship to an end because I'd fallen out of love with him but we kept in contact as friends. We used to text and send the odd email. I became aware in December 2006 that he'd met Clair but early in 2007 my relationship with Nick became intimate.

'When me and Nick started seeing each other again we started making plans to get back together.'

The court heard how DC McFadden had ended his relationship with his ex-lover when his wife discovered she was pregnant in May 2007.

'After Nick decided to stay with Clair, we didn't have much contact,' said Ms Strangeway.

'Then, in June 2011, I received a text message off Nick saying we were going to be working together on a job. Then we became close again. He told me that he had something he wanted to give me and when we met up, that's when he surprised me.'

Ms Strangeway said DC McFadden had given her a parcel which contained bundles of ten and twenty pound notes. 'There was £10,000 in total, she said.'

'I made an assumption that the money came from the sale of his house. It was a life-changing amount of money from a house we shared together. I didn't feel like I had to ask questions about it. I had no reason to doubt him.'

The court heard how McFadden bought an Audi A4 for his ex-lover in July 2011, costing £10,000, gave her £2,000 in cash for a shopping trip and posted parcels of money through her letterbox, amounting to around £1,000.

The gifts came to light when Ms Strangeway was asked to declare them after the vetting procedure changed at her work. 'Nick was very concerned about his wife finding out that he'd given me the money and the car,' she said.

Giving evidence, Mrs McFadden, an assistant headteacher at a primary school, said: 'Our daughter was born in January 2008 and Nick changed. It really brought us together. We were really happy and I couldn't have asked for more.

'Towards the end of 2010, he seemed to have more money and started paying for things but I assumed he was just taking more responsibility after he became a father.'

Mrs McFadden said she was 'flattered by the attention and the extravagance'.

'In December 2010 he changed all the windows in the house and bought me a private number plate for my car. He gave me £8,000 in cash and told me not to pay it into a bank.'

She said DC McFadden told her the money had come from the overtime he was doing and said he had remortgaged his property.

'I accepted what he said because he was my husband and a police officer. He thanked me and said it was all down to me organising him.'

The court heard how DC McFadden organised a lavish trip to London for a weekend, forking out for first class train tickets, fitted a new kitchen and built an orangery at the back of the house.

But things changed following a luxury family holiday to Egypt in August 2011, after the policeman had resumed his affair with his ex-lover.

She said her husband began having mood swings, 'and just acted like he didn't want to be there,' and was always on his mobile phone.

At their home in September 2011, Mrs McFadden said she found him crying and shaking whilst 'curled up in a ball on the bed.'

'He said he wanted to leave but I managed to calm him down and he stayed. Another night I left him decorating and went to bed,' she said.

'He never followed and when I woke up in the middle of the night I had a text message off him saying he had taken some lads, who he'd caught doing things they shouldn't be, in our street to the police station.'

On October 13, when Ms Strangeway had been questioned by police following the declaration of the money and the car, the court heard that she received a text message from DC McFadden apologising for what he had done.

It read: 'You did the right thing. I have dragged you into something I shouldn't have. I cannot express how deeply sorry I am for what I have done to you. I've ruined a lot of lives. Sorry.'

The court heard previously how police first became aware of DC McFadden's suspicious activities in the middle of 2011 when his bank alerted officers to the fact that he had deposited a total of £30,000 in small payments into their cash machines over three months.

When police arrested him at work in October 2011 they searched his Ford Focus car and found £6,000 in wads of cash hidden in different compartments, the jury were told. They also found wads of cash stashed in bags, totalling £19,755, and a further £157,560 in the garage of his home in Castleford, West Yorkshire.

Between the homes of DC McFadden and his brother, there was over £600,000, the court was told.

DC McFadden has pleaded not guilty to eight charges of stealing and conspiracy to supply drugs between 2007 and 2011, with his brother, of Leeds, pleading not guilty to four charges of conspiracy to supply and one of money laundering.

DC McFadden and Simon McFadden's wife Karen have pleaded guilty to money laundering.

The trial continues.

Original report here

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