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Top GMP officer cleared of mortgage fraud demands answers over 'missing page' of evidence backing his story

  

manchestereveningnews.co.uk | February 1, 2015

By John Scheerhout

A senior police officer cleared of fraud has demanded answers after it emerged a key page of a prosecution witness statement vanished.

A jury took just 20 minutes to clear Chief Inspector John Buttress, 48, of a charge of mortgage fraud.

During the trial it emerged that a key page in the statement of a bank official had gone missing from the prosecution papers.

The page backed up the officer’s claim that his main residence was Overton Vale Farm in Wrexham, part of which he rented out to holiday-makers.

The court heard the officer himself realised the omission when he listened to a recording of the two-hour police interview and discovered the official’s opinion had not been included in her four-page statement.

It later emerged page three of her five-page original was missing.

When it was found on the eve of the trial, the prosecution dropped one of the two fraud charges the officer faced at the time.

The charge had alleged that the father-of-three had dishonestly failed to inform his mortgage provider that he didn’t live at the Wrexham farmhouse.

The jury went on to clear him of the remaining fraud charge in which he was accused of dishonestly failing to tell his mortgage provider that a loan for his £650,000 farmhouse was to fund a holiday business.

He stayed there at weekends and lodged in Manchester during the week for work, his trial heard.

The former merchant navy radio officer told the M.E.N: “I could not believe it when I heard the taped interview.

“I questioned myself and thought I had made a mistake. I just thought it was incredible.”

He accused the Counter Corruption Unit of GMP, which had investigated him, of being ‘clever and manipulative’.

The officer, who could still face disciplinary proceedings, said he had written to senior officers in the force for a full explanation as to how the page had gone missing.

A statement from GMP said: “As far as can be established at this stage the statement and recording were both disclosed to the CPS in the spring of 2014 and the content discussed on a number of occasions.”

The force is continuing to assess a number of complaints made by Mr Buttress.

 

Back to February 2015 Archive

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