ONE of West Yorkshire Police’s most senior detectives was charged with a drink-driving offence, just hours after his officers launched one of its most high-profile murder investigations following the death of teacher Ann Maguire in Leeds.
Det Chief Supt David Knopwood, head of the force’s protective services, has been suspended from duty after being arrested on Monday. He was arrested by North Yorkshire Police in Knaresborough at 11.30pm – about 12 hours after the alarm was raised at the school following the fatal incident.
The 48-year-old officer has been head of West Yorkshire Police’s protective services, formed when the force’s Crime Division and Homicide and Major Enquiry Team were merged, since November last year.
Although head of protective services, Det Chief Supt Knopwood was not the senior officer officer in the investigation into Mrs Maguire’s death.
But a source close to the West Yorkshire force told The Yorkshire Post: “This couldn’t have happened at a worse time in terms of public relations.
“This is probably the biggest investigation since the murder of Pc Sharon Beshenivsky [in 2005]. To have such a high-profile officer arrested within the same day is going to cause a great deal of embarrassment.”
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman also confirmed the department is now being led on an interim basis by Acting Chief Dept Sup Mark Ridley.
Det Chief Supt Knopwood was arrested in Stockwell Lane, Knaresborough, on suspicion of drink driving. He will appear before magistrates later this month charged with failing to provide a specimen of breath.
He authored the Operation Newgreen report into West Yorkshire police officers’ relationship with Jimmy Savile.
West Yorkshire Police’s Head of Professional Standards, Det Chief Supt Andy Brennan, said: “An off-duty West Yorkshire police officer was arrested and subsequently charged with a drink driving offence. The officer, who is in his 40s and based in Wakefield, has subsequently been suspended from duty.”
The family of Ann Maguire yesterday laid flowers outside the school where she was killed shortly after coming face to face with the teenager accused of her murder in court.
Her husband and two daughters held hands in the rain as they read some of the hundreds of tributes at the gates of Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds.
The family also visited the nearby church where hundreds of pupils joined teachers at a memorial service earlier this week.
The Spanish teacher, 61, was months away from retiring when she was attacked in the classroom in front of pupils on Monday.
A 15-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared at Leeds Youth Court yesterday morning.
Mrs Maguire’s husband and daughters were there for the two-minute hearing, when the defendant spoke just four times to answer “yes” to questions from a clerk.
The boy, whose right arm was in plaster, nodded to his own parents as he walked into court. Donald Maguire stared straight at the youth as he was led into the glass-fronted dock and clutched the hands of his daughters, Emma and Kerry, throughout the hearing in the packed courtroom.
The 15-year-old will today appear at the city’s crown court via a video-link from where he is being held in custody to face a bail hearing. The family also paid tribute to Mrs Maguire in a statement released through West Yorkshire Police.
It said: “Our beautiful Ann, our shining light, she brightened the world for so many of us.”