Metropolitan Police detective denies credit card misuse

A Scotland Yard detective accused of using a force credit card to pay for a weekend with his wife in a luxury hotel has denied any wrongdoing.

Det Con Christopher Fernley charged £746.80 to his work American Express charge card to pay for the hotel.

He stayed at the Devonshire Arms Country House, in the Yorkshire Dales, over the August Bank Holiday in 2006.

At Southwark Crown Court, Mr Fernley, 39, denies five counts of false accounting over transactions made.

The card was intended solely for police expenses incurred in the course of duty.

The officer was on leave at the time he and his wife stayed in the hotel while attending a wedding party in the area.

'Glaring mistakes'

He told the court he thought the charge was for a hotel he had stayed at with colleagues.

The detective said that he had mistakenly claimed the expenditure as a police expense.

Giving evidence, he agreed it was a "particularly exclusive" hotel, but said he had not distinguished it from the places he stayed at for police business.

He also said that he thought the card could be used for personal expenditure, as long as the money was later paid back.

"The hotel name is really similar to ones I've stayed in - Chesford Grange, Crewe Hall," he said.

"In my mind I had paid back that money from the wedding in any case."

On a claim form, Fernley had said the money spent at the hotel was payment the accommodation for four officers, including himself.

He admitted that when errors in his expense claims were later pointed out to him by a colleague, he realised there were "glaring mistakes" and offered to get his chequebook to rectify the situation.

Retired Det Supt Gordon Green, who worked as Mr Fernley's manager for two years, told the court the defendant was "extremely trustworthy" and a competent member of staff.

The trial was adjourned until Thursday.

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