Friday, November 21, 2014

Chief constable and 13 other police officers will not face charges after botched murder investigation of promising footballer who died in 'execution style' killing

The negligent and incompetent police should at least be demoted and in some cases fired

Fourteen police officers - including two chief constables - will not face charges over a botched murder investigation of a promising football star.

Kevin Nunes, who had been on the books of Tottenham Hotspur, was found dead in a country lane in Pattingham, Staffordshire on September 19, 2002. The 20-year-old had been savagely beaten and shot five times.

Five men were found guilty of the alleged 'execution-style' murder of Mr Nunes and jailed for a total of 135 years at Leicester Crown Court in 2008.

But they launched a collective appeal and were cleared at the Court of Appeal in March 2012 after a damning report exposed a catalogue of blunders by Staffordshire Police.

After the trial, it emerged concerns over the credibility of the key prosecution witness, Simeon Taylor, were not disclosed to the defence. Mr Taylor claimed to have seen the killing having driven the car which took Mr Nunes to his death. But it later emerged that complaints made by Mr Taylor concerning his treatment while in witness protection were 'put on ice'.

A detective handling the key witness was also involved in an 'intimate' affair with a disclosure officer, it emerged.

A senior detective believed there was an 'at any cost' culture within Staffordshire Police to ensure Mr Taylor gave evidence in the case.

In September last year, a file of evidence was handed over to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) after an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

The police watchdog probe centred on how the officers acted before the trial and dealings with protected witness Mr Taylor in 2008.

But it emerged today that none of the 14 former and serving Staffordshire Police officers investigated over the murder will face prosecution.

The officers include high-ranking Adrian Lee, the Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police, and Gloucestershire Police's Chief Constable Suzette Davenport.

Staffordshire Police's temporary Chief Constable Jane Sawyers and West Midlands Police's Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale have also been told they face no further action.

The CPS said it had considered two allegations in connection with the handling of the case.

One was that Staffordshire Police had received a complaint from the main witness relating to a senior officer of the Sensitive Policing Unit in November 2006.

The second matter was the force's failure to disclose the results of internal review of the sensitive policing unit and its handling of Mr Taylor.

Five of the 14 officers were told they would not face criminal prosecution in January and the nine remaining officers were told the same decision had been reached this week.

Commenting on the latest officers to be cleared, a CPS spokesman said: 'We considered whether there is sufficient evidence to prove that any action or inaction was a deliberate attempt to pervert the course of justice or could amount to the criminal offence of misconduct in public office.

'The CPS has determined there is insufficient evidence to prosecute any of the nine police officers, four remain in service while five are now retired, investigated either for attempting or conspiring to pervert the course of public justice or for criminal misconduct in a public office.'

The spokesman added: 'The CPS has taken the decision that whatever criticisms may be made about the conduct of the various officers, there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of a conviction against any of them for conspiring or attempting to pervert the course of public justice.

'Equally, that there is no realistic prospect of a conviction resulting from the prosecution of any officer for the misconducting themselves in public office.

'Rather than a conspiracy to conceal, the evidence suggested that there was an overall failure to disclose the report.

'None of the officers who could be shown to be aware of the content of the report had a clear and direct responsibility for disclosure in the murder case.

'This CPS decision applies only to possible criminal proceedings and not to any possible misconduct proceedings under police regulations.'

Original report here

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