Detective sacked after failing to watch CCTV critical to serial rape case

A YORKSHIRE detective failed to properly examine CCTV footage which could have been critical to an investigation into a serial rapist, a misconduct hearing has found.

A detective has been fired after failing to properly watch CCTV in a serial rape case
A detective has been fired after failing to properly watch CCTV in a serial rape case

Detective Constable Emyr Davies was today fired from his job at Humberside Police after the disciplinary panel found he had committed gross misconduct by claiming to have watched the footage when he had not done so.

His actions "could have affected the progression and outcome of a very serious criminal investigation", panel chairman Simon Mallett said.

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Det Con Davies, 57, was previously only named in the press as Officer D but his identity can now be revealed thanks to an application by The Yorkshire Post.

The panel, sitting in Goole, heard that Humberside Police had been investigating a series of so-called stranger rapes in North East Lincolnshire in 2015.

DNA evidence had shown that one man was responsible for two separate rapes, one of which was an attack on a woman as she walked home from an evening out in Cleethorpes town centre.

Mr Mallett said: “The woman was walking home when she was attacked by two men. One held her down while the other raped her. Neither of the men was known to the victim.”

CCTV evidence of the victim’s route home was gathered from four businesses and Det Con Davies, who had met the victim, volunteered to look through the footage, the hearing was told.

Mr Mallett said: "A very serious offence had been committed. Officer D's role was critical to the initial investigation of the offence."

While Det Con Davies identified the victim in a takeaway, he failed to identify further footage which showed her with two male suspects.

One suspect was identified by other means and arrested, but a man he was with at the time of his arrest was not detained.

In later checks on the CCTV footage, colleagues of Det Con Davies “immediately recognised” the victim as being on footage that he had claimed to have looked through, Mr Mallett said.

The footage could have been used in public appeals for witnesses if the police had known of it earlier, the panel heard.

Det Con Davies, who had served for more than 20 years with the Royal Navy before joining the police, gave evidence saying he had fully reviewed the CCTV but had decided the woman shown with two men was not the victim.

He also spoke of his pride about working for the police, saying the day he was accepted into the force was "the proudest day of my life".

The hearing was told that he had previously sat through hundreds of hours of CCTV footage in a murder case and had found crucial footage which helped to secure a conviction.

Speaking about the upset it had caused him to face misconduct proceedings, he said: " I feel very hurt and wounded that my honesty and integrity have been brought into question."

The press had been barred from revealing the identity of Det Con Davies while the hearing was ongoing.

But The Yorkshire Post asked for this anonymity order to be lifted if misconduct was found.

Mr Mallett said he agreed that it was important such proceedings were “open and transparent” and ruled that the detective could now be named.

An allegation that Det Con Davies had been playing the computer game Solitaire while fast-forwarding through some of the CCTV footage was dismissed by the panel, with the chairman saying there was no proof that the game was being played in work time rather than during a break.

A further allegation, that Det Con Davies lied about making an appointment with the Crown Prosecution Service as part of a different case, was also dismissed.