Disgraced Yorkshire police murder detective locked up for 'fitting up' burglary suspects

Corrupt Detective Chief inspector Elizabeth Belton has been locked up for two years for "fitting up" suspects in a burglary investigation.

Elizabeth Belton was found guilty at Leeds Crown Court
Elizabeth Belton was found guilty at Leeds Crown Court

A judge today told the disgraced senior officer she had "driven a coach and horses" through police procedures designed to ensure fairness and integrity in the justice system.

Belton was found guilty of plotting with her colleague, police constable Judith Mulligan, to corrupt an identification procedure to secure convictions against two men.

Mulligan was given a suspended sentence over her role in the conspiracy to pervert the court of justice.

Elizabeth Belton was found guilty at Leeds Crown Court

Belton and Mulligan were found guilty yesterday after a re-trial at Leeds Crown Court.

Judge Tom Bayliss, QC, told Belton today: "The public must be able to trust the police to uphold their rights.

"How can the public do that when senior police officers are subverting those rights?

"West Yorkshire Police maintain the highest of standards. Standards that are jealously guarded - hence this prosecution."

Elizabeth Belton arriving at Leeds Crown Court

The judge added: "I think you, Elizabeth Belton, got carried away.

"You were showing off to your friend and you were throwing you weight around with junior colleagues."

The former murder detective tweeted a message prior to being sentenced which read: "All faith in British justice lost. You stand up for the rights of people like Elsie Frost and Joe McCafferty and then become the centre of a with (sic) hunt. That maybe the title of my book. Plenty of time to finish it."

During the trial, jurors heard two men were jailed as a result of corrupt methods used by the West Yorkshire Police officers during the investigation.

She also described the suspects as "little sh*ts", stating: "I hate burglars".

The offences took place during September 2013 after two men tried to break into Mulligan's home on School Street, Pudsey, Leeds.

Mulligan dialled 999 and described two suspects outside her home as being teenagers wearing dark clothing.

Police were sent to the area and stopped two men aged in their thirties.

The pair were arrested and taken to Pudsey police station after checks revealed they both had criminal records.

Mulligan contacted Belton about the incident.

A third defendant, former police sergeant Mohammed Gother, 54, was found NOT guilty of the charge.

The court heard Belton sent a text message to Mr Gother, a sergeant at Pudsey Neighbourhood Policing Team, to make arrangements for photographs to be taken of the two suspects.

Images of the two men were then delivered by a police constable to Mulligan's house so she could view them ahead of taking part in an identity procedure.

Jurors were were told Mulligan attended the former Millgarth police station in Leeds city centre the next day and was able to identify the men.

Mulligan also changed her description of the suspects, stating they were older.

Scenes of crime officers were unable to find any forensic evidence at Mulligan's home and the investigation hinged on Mulligan's identification evidence.

The two suspects were charged with attempted burglary and subsequently jailed.

After their convictions, Mulligan sent a text to Belton stating: "That'll teach them to try and burgle a single mum looking out for her 2 children and let that be a lesson to them. stay away from Pudsey!!!"

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It was the second time all three defendants had been on trial for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

A jury was dismissed at the end of the original trial in April last year after they were unable to reach verdicts.

A reporting restriction was in place through the two trials but was lifted after the verdicts were returned.