North Wales Police chief 'did not deliberately mislead MP'

Nicholas Anthony Churton
Image caption,
Nicholas Churton was found dead at his home in Wrexham in March 2017

A former chief constable did not deliberately mislead an MP over the case of a murdered pensioner, the police watchdog has said.

Nicholas Churton, 67, was killed with a machete and hammer at his home in 2017 by Jordan Davidson.

Ian Lucas, who was MP for Wrexham at the time, claimed he had been deliberately misled over the case.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) then launched an investigation.

It looked into the conduct of Mark Polin, the ex-senior officer at North Wales Police, and concluded that while he had mislead Mr Lucas with the information he gave him, it had not been done deliberately.

In April, Mr Lucas said he asked police why Davidson was released from police custody four days before the murder and was wrongly told this was subject to an inquiry.

Image caption,
Former Wrexham MP Ian Lucas claimed he had been deliberately misled over the case

In the IOPC report, Mr Polin said: "It is now clear to me that the letter from me and the email that followed to Mr Lucas was inaccurate in suggesting at that point that the Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation was concerned with police contact with Mr Davidson as opposed to police contact with Mr Churton."

He added: "I wish to sincerely apologise for the confusion and upset or concern that my letter and subsequent email may have caused given the inaccuracy both contained.

"However, I strongly refute the suggestion that I was grossly negligent in this regard or that I deliberately sought to mislead Mr Lucas."

Image source, North Wales Police
Image caption,
Jordan Davidson was initially sentenced to a minimum term of 23 years, but this was increased to 30

The report concluded that Mr Polin, in his role as chief constable, would "have to rely on the accuracy of information provided to him by others within North Wales Police".

It added that it does appear that he "inadvertently provided inaccurate statements to Mr Lucas".

"However, the investigation has found no evidence to support Mr Lucas's allegation that former Chief Constable Polin deliberately sought to mislead him in their correspondence during December 2017," it said.

The IOPC has already examined police contact with Mr Churton before his death and concluded officers may have made errors.

The findings of another investigation, into police contact with Davidson prior to the attack, have yet to be published.

After the IOPC finding, North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones said he was "now calling on Ian Lucas to accept the findings of the investigation and acknowledge that the allegation against Mark Polin was groundless".

Mr Lucas said Mr Jones failed to mention the fact he had indeed been mislead and had also received an apology from Mr Polin.

"The only reason I received the apology was because I made a formal complaint to the IOPC," he added.