Manchester

Greater Manchester PC sacked for giving fugitive a lift

PC Ian Johnson
Image caption PC Ian Johnson was sacked after a GMP disciplinary hearing

A police officer who gave a fugitive a lift home in his patrol car instead of arresting him has been sacked for gross misconduct.

PC Ian Johnson also sent texts joking about the murders of colleagues Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes, who were based at his station in Hyde.

At a hearing, Mr Johnson was dismissed with immediate effect by Greater Manchester Police.

A second officer, PC Gareth Lynch, was also sacked for not speaking up.

Mr Johnson told the hearing that he was "scared" of the man to whom he had given a lift.

A spokeswoman for GMP said he would not be facing criminal charges for perverting the course of justice after he was cleared by a Crown Court jury last January of misconduct in a public office.

After a bar fight in Hyde, Greater Manchester, police were searching for a suspect thought to be involved. He was later spotted entering the Queen Adelaide pub.

A short time later, Mr Johnson sent a radio message back to base, saying he and his colleague Mr Lynch had checked the building, with the suspect not there.

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Media captionPC Ian Johnson was sacked for giving a fugitive a lift instead of arresting him.
Image caption PC Ian Johnson gave the suspect a lift home from a pub in Hyde to his home in Hattersley

The hearing was told adequate checks had not been made.

In a recording released by GMP, Mr Johnson told a control room operator: "Yeah, myself and Gary have been into the pub. It would appear he's gone straight in the front which leads into an estate. He's not in the pub at the moment."

Operator: "So you think he's done one from the pub from the opposite end?"

Mr Johnson: "Yeah. I'm just trying to work out where that thing takes you out onto. He's still living in Hattersley so he will roll up their eventually."

'Oscar performance'

CCTV footage shown during the misconduct hearing shows Mr Johnson initially driving away from the pub, on Stockport Road.

He then returns, with the suspect seen outside the pub, flagging down his patrol car. The pair drove off together, heading for the suspect's home in Hattersley.

The suspect was arrested the following day by other colleagues, police said. He is currently serving a prison sentence and is not eligible for parole until mid-2018.

After a counselling session shortly after the deaths of his colleagues, the hearing heard a text was sent from Mr Johnson's phone, saying he should have "got an Oscar for today's performance".

A second text was sent with words to the effect he "couldn't be bothered" going to one of their funerals.

PCs Fiona Bone, 32, and Nicola Hughes, 23, were shot dead by Dale Cregan in 2012.

At the police disciplinary hearing, Mr Lynch was also sacked for not challenging Mr Johnson for sending a false message on the radio.

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