A Hampshire Constabulary detective constable has been convicted of forging a witness statement during a murder investigation.
Detective Constable Robert Ferrow completed and signed the statement of a witness during the investigation into the murder of Lucy-Anne Rushton in Andover, Hampshire in June 2019.
He told investigators he felt “pressured to complete the statement due to time restraints”.
Ms Rushton’s estranged husband Shaun Dyson admitted murder and was jailed in December 2019.
Det Con Ferrow, based at Portsmouth police station, was charged with making a false instrument with intent for it to be accepted as genuine, under the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981, following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
Det Con Ferrow’s trial at Winchester Crown Court concluded on Friday (August 13), after starting on Monday , August 9. He will be sentenced on September 10.
IOPC Regional Director Graham Beesley said: “Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Lucy-Anne.
“Knowing a police officer had forged a signature on a witness statement, which was part of the evidence against Shaun Dyson, can only have added to their distress.
“Det Con Ferrow told our investigators that he felt pressured to complete the statement due to time restraints, but whatever his motivation, his actions could have had serious ramifications for the murder trial. It is fortunate the murder team withdrew the evidence from the investigation and were able to take a lawful statement from the key witness.”
He added: “The public expects the highest standards of police officers. For him to fall so short would have caused Lucy’s family distress and undermined the public’s faith in the police service.
“However, the jury has now made its decision and Det Con Ferrow will have to live with the consequences.”
The IOPC said that during its 11-month investigation, which began in August 2019, investigators interviewed the officer, obtained statements from the witness, forensically examined the statement concerned and reviewed relevant legislation.
At the investigation’s conclusion, it referred a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service, which made the decision to charge the officer.
Det Con Ferrow will also face an allegation of gross misconduct at a police disciplinary panel in due course. The ultimate sanction is dismissal without notice.