William Stilwell: PC sacked for gross misconduct

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William StilwellImage source, Family photo
Image caption,
William Stilwell was found dead in Sussex on 16 November 2015

A police officer who tried to "cover up his poor performance" after a missing man was found dead by giving "untrue" inquest evidence has been sacked.

William Stilwell, 23, was found dead in Sussex hours after absconding from Fulbourn Hospital, near Cambridge, on 16 November 2015.

Cambridgeshire police officer PC Julian Crimes denied misconduct allegations.

A misconduct panel found him guilty of two breaches of the standards of professional behaviour.

It said he would be dismissed without notice.

The hearing was told a hospital nurse had given PC Crimes a form detailing Mr Stilwell's "suicidal tendencies" and information about him being found at a hotel in Sussex during a previous disappearance.

Image source, Family photo
Image caption,
William Stilwell was found at a hotel in Sussex in a previous disappearance

Mr Stilwell had phoned the hospital telling them he would catch a train back to Cambridge from Clapham Junction, the panel heard.

It was also told PC Crimes did not revise his risk assessment, contact Mr Stilwell's mother, circulate Mr Stilwell's name on the police national computer or contact Sussex Police or British Transport Police.

He also made a "lengthy entry" to the incident log, which stated Mr Stilwell had suicidal tendencies and was suffering from a mental disorder.

Mr Stilwell was found dead at about 22:20 GMT in Sussex.

Image source, Family photo
Image caption,
PC Crimes was accused of "failing to carry out his duties diligently" and knowingly giving "untrue" evidence at William Stilwell's inquest

At Mr Stilwell's inquest in September 2017, PC Crimes stated he had not had a discussion about suicide.

He also denied making the log entries and claimed he had probably been "searching in the van, travelling around".

The hearing heard the officer "realised... that he had not performed his duties diligently on 16 November 2015, or he believed that it would be suggested at the inquest he had not done so, and from that point on he was seeking to cover up his poor performance".

The panel found him guilty of gross misconduct relating to his honesty and integrity, and duties and responsibilities.

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