Corrupt detective sentenced for misconduct
A former Greater Manchester Police officer who offered to plant a gun on an escorts ex-boyfriend was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court Crown Square to four years in prison.
The suspended Detective Constable Daniel Withnell, 31, of Cranark Close, Heaton, Bolton pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to two counts of misconduct in a public office and perverting the course of justice.
Claire Smethurst, 49, of Hatherlow Court, Westhoughton, Bolton, was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court Crown Square on 9 October 2013 to 15 months imprisonment in prison suspended for two years.
She was found guilty of perverting the course of justice at an earlier hearing.
Between 30th September and 30th October 2012, Withnell offered to plant a shotgun in a car belonging to a man at the request of Claire Smethurst, an escort, who offered to pay him £19,000. She wanted to set up her former lover after a stormy break-up.
Between 28th February and 2nd October 2012 Withnell illegally obtained information on a police database and drafted a charging advice form purporting to be a lawyer from the CPS relating to a £500,000 money laundering investigation.
The advice suggested that offences under investigation should either be discontinued or subject of lesser charges. The form was then sent on to a friend of the person subject of the criminal investigation via Withnell’s GMP email.
On 16th March 2013 Withnell sent an anonymous text message to a police officer indicating a hit man had been paid to kill Daniel Withnell knowing these details were false.
Assistant Chief Constable Dawn Copley said:
"The conduct of former DC Daniel Withnell fell well short of what is expected of a police officer.
"Police officers, staff and the communities of Greater Manchester would be appalled by his actions, which detract from the hard work that our officers and staff do on a daily basis.
"GMP expects the very highest standards of all its officers and staff. They should be honest and act with integrity and should not compromise or abuse their position.
"As soon as this conduct came to light, the Professional Standards Branch carried out a thorough investigation, supervised by the IPCC and as a result Mr Withnell has been convicted of two counts of misconduct in public office and perverting the course of justice and Ms Smethhurst has been convicted of perverting the course of justice."