Wales

South Wales Police misconduct officer Rebecca Bryant sacked

Det Con Rebecca Bryant Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Det Con Rebecca Bryant kept secret about her link to a juror

A police officer has been sacked after lying about knowing a juror in a murder trial, leading to three convictions being quashed and a retrial.

South Wales Police Det Con Rebecca Bryant was a liaison officer to the family of Lynford Brewster, who was murdered in Cardiff in 2016.

She had two counts of gross misconduct against her proved after hiding the fact that her son's girlfriend was a juror in the original trial.

She has been dismissed without notice.

Det Con Bryant had served with the South Wales force since 1998.

Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Lynford Brewster was stabbed to death after a "violent disagreement" over drugs

South Wales Police Assistant Chief Constable Jeremy Vaughan said her actions "undermined trust and confidence" the public have in the force.

He said: "DC Bryant's actions resulted in the convictions of three murderers being overturned which brought immense grief to the family of Lynford Brewster. For this we are truly sorry.

"Our misconduct investigation, which has been subject of independent oversight, did not find any evidence that DC Bryant intended to undermine the criminal justice process.

"However, her actions have caused great upset to those affected by this case."

A disciplinary panel found her failure to tell Cardiff Crown Court of the link with Lauren Jones during the original trial was a "continuing breach" of professional behaviour from the end of November to about the 20 December 2016.

She initially lied to a senior officer when confronted with the truth and the panel found that amounted to gross misconduct.

Ms Bryant had also admitted dishonesty for advising the juror to withhold information from the court in order to attend a hair appointment.

Three men have since been found guilty of murdering Mr Brewster after a retrial.

Image copyright South Wales Police
Image caption (Left to right) Robert Lainsbury, Jake Whelan and Dwayne Edgar, who were jailed after a re-trial

The misconduct hearing in Cardiff was earlier read a statement from Mr Brewster's mother, June Whittaker, who said Det Con Bryant had treated her son's murder as a "joke".

Ms Whittaker told the hearing: "I was disgusted and very angry.

"She watched me fall apart over the loss of my son. She was not thinking about me, my son or justice. She was just thinking about herself. She guided that juror and encouraged her to tell lies.

"They treated the murder of my son and justice as a joke.

"This has had a devastating impact, life changing, and the whole experience will never leave me or my family."

Ms Whittaker said she was considered suing South Wales Police.

Panel chair Peter Griffiths QC said its decision came despite Det Con Bryant's "genuine remorse and apology to the Brewster family", her acceptance of fault and her "outstanding record as a police officer as evidenced by numerous glowing testimonies".

Mrs Bryant worked on some of south Wales' biggest murder cases during her 21 years with the force.

They included the murder of 17-year-old Aamir Siddiqi in Cardiff and 17-month-old Finley Thomas in Tonypandy.

She also worked on the investigation into the death of 18-year-old Connor Marshall in Porthcawl, and the double murder of couple Zoe Morgan, 21, and Lee Symonds, 33, outside a Matalan store in Cardiff.

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