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Officer fabricates story about baseball-wielding attackers in a churchyard


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PC faces career end after being found guilty of perverting the course of justice.

'Assault' scene: St Laurence-in-Thanet Church, Ramsgate

'Assault' scene: St Laurence-in-Thanet Church, Ramsgate

Date - 13th June 2019
By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle
5 Comments5 Comments}

 

An officer lied about being attacked by four men with baseball bats in a church graveyard while on duty, a court heard.

PC Michael Tovell made up a report on a fictitious assault in the grounds of St Laurence-in-Thanet Church in Ramsgate.

Originally charged with misconduct in public office, a jury at Canterbury Crown Court yesterday found the Kent officer guilty of perverting the course of justice.

He will be sentenced later following a psychiatric assessment and the force confirmed after court proceedings have concluded, it will begin a misconduct process.

The 46-year-old officer reported to his Kent colleagues he had been knocked unconscious after being set upon by a group of people at about 9.45pm on February 2.

He activated his personal emergency alarm and was heard over the police radio to shout: “Get back” and; ‘I am Taser trained. Put it down.”

Two other officers were attending a nearby shop when his emergency alarm was activated and arrived on the scene within an estimated 30 seconds.

They carried out an immediate search of the area but the group of men who he claimed had attacked him were never found.

An ambulance crew was called to the scene after PC Tovell described being attacked with baseball bats and wooden planks. At hospital he was found to have sustained no apparent injuries and was discharged within a few hours.

During the subsequent investigations to identify PC Tovell’s attackers, question marks began to surface around the legitimacy of his account.

A significant number of house-to-house enquiries were carried out, two witness appeals were issued and an examination of the local CCTV – which had comprehensive coverage of the area – took place.

 

Crucially, no one matching PC Tovell’s description of four heavily-built men were found on the extensive CCTV to leave the area and witnesses who came forward described the church yard and surrounding roads as typically quiet at the time of the assault, the force said.

Further inconsistencies such as a lack of audio capturing the attack on the officer’s emergency radio recording and four unaccounted for minutes between Tovell leaving colleagues to enter the church yard alone and the activation of his alarm were uncovered.

Police suspended the officer last year after accusing him of arming his Taser and misusing his radio at the churchyard. He was later arrested in March 2018, and during police interview was unable to provide any reasonable explanations.

Assistant Chief Constable Tim Smith of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: “A significant amount of time and resources went into investigating what was, on the surface, a report of a very serious assault on a police officer.

“But as our enquiries delved deeper into the account given by Tovell, it became clear this report was fabricated and our attentions turned to him. We’re pleased the court has recognised the severity of his actions.

“Tovell’s decision to make up being attacked by a group of men not only has a profound impact on the public and its confidence in policing, but also on his colleagues, some of whom have been assaulted while on duty.”

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Sounds strange and bizarre.

Perhaps this exposes the lesser known phenomena of men making up allegations within a world where women seem to do with a degree of frequency, if you were to believe the protagonists.. 

Edited by ParochialYokal
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I'm pretty sure this has happened a few times before. I remember one PC making up a story about being shot at (possibly in Norfolk) and another female PC saying she had been attacked when she probably hadn't.

Is it something like fireman being responsible for arson?

Couldn't find anything via Google.

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Wow I’m genuinely puzzled by this. Why would an officer do this, I just don’t get it. 

I struggle however with the fact he was arrested. Unless there is something missing from the story I can’t understand why he would have been.

Based on the article though I’m going to be tied up for years with pervert the course of justice cases for very emergency call for people with weapons calls etc where we do h2h enquiries and cctv etc and can’t find the suspects...😂

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 13/06/2019 at 23:18, stewie_griffin said:

I'm pretty sure this has happened a few times before. I remember one PC making up a story about being shot at (possibly in Norfolk) and another female PC saying she had been attacked when she probably hadn't.

Is it something like fireman being responsible for arson?

Couldn't find anything via Google.

I read about this a few years ago after hearing of a similar case in West Yorkshire involving a PCSO, this is A documented phenomenon within policing, more so in the states than here, in the US they refer to it as "Hero Syndrome." 

Some interesting case studies from this report:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.cji.edu/site/assets/files/1921/the_hero_syndrome.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwi6-ae1u67jAhW-QEEAHXC8C1gQFjABegQIBxAB&usg=AOvVaw03V3dAF3Fycj_SCaYGO0NV&cshid=1562903061462

On January 16, 2004, a Perry County Deputy Sheriff radioed in to his dispatch centre he 
would be out with a white male, wearing a green army jacket, on a secluded U.S. Forest Service 
road. A short time later, the deputy advised by radio, he was in foot pursuit. Shortly 
thereafter, the deputy radioed he had been shot by the unknown assailant and the assailant 
had ran off into the woods. Responding back up officers found the deputy and determined he 
had sustained a gunshot wound to the lower right abdomen, however his ballistic protective 
vest absorbed the round and left the deputy with very little injury. The deputy was very 
coherent and provided responding officers with an elaborate suspect description and direction 
of travel, stating he had returned fire on the suspect. A very intensive manhunt ensued, 
incorporating federal, state, and local law enforcement, tracking dogs, helicopters, and 
mounted horse patrols.
 Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigators responded and initiated the investigation of the 
event. Investigators began obtaining evidence; including the officer’s duty weapon, ballistic 
vest, uniform shirt, and spent shell casings. The following day, some 50 officers participated in 
a ground search with tracking dogs and located a .25 caliber handgun believed to have been 
used in the shooting. After conducting numerous mirandized interviews with the deputy, 
investigators seized on a number of inconsistencies in the deputy’s recounting of the event, and 
after three separate interviews, the deputy confessed to having created the entire event as a 
hoax. The deputy admitted to shooting himself on purpose with the small caliber handgun, 
disposing of the weapon in the woods, then fabricating the entire unknown assailant story.
(CID-E-01565-04) 
 The deputy was subsequently fired by the Sheriff, arrested and charged with Filing a False 
Police Report, 5-54-122 and Communicating a False Alarm, 5-71-210. The deputy was 
decertified as a police officer and later plead to the charges. Mark one up for the good guys 
and recognize how a thorough investigation weeded out a bad cop. Significant to this incident 
however, is the dangers posed to the dozens of law enforcement first responders who were put 
in jeopardy responding to this “hero event” and the countless man hours spent searching for a 
“bad guy” that did not exist. To put a dollar amount to the resources expended in this event 
would easily exceed six digits in taxpayer monies, all for nothing.

 

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Career end for PC in story fabrication about baseball-wielding attackers in churchyard

Officer dismissed following uncorroborated assault.

'Assault' scene: St Laurence-in-Thanet Church, Ramsgate

'Assault' scene: St Laurence-in-Thanet Church, Ramsgate

Date - 15th July 2019
By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle

 

An officer who lied about being knocked unconscious in an attack by four men with baseball bats in a church graveyard has been sacked.

PC Michael Tovell made up a report on a fictitious assault in the grounds of St Laurence-in-Thanet Church in Ramsgate in February last year.

The Kent officer, who served in the police for 15 years, was dismissed without notice by the force at a disciplinary hearing.

Gross misconduct was proven against PC Tovell, who is awaiting sentence later following a psychiatric assessment after being found guilty of perverting the course of justice and branded "attention seeking" when he appeared at Canterbury Crown Court last month.

The 46-year-old officer reported to his Kent colleagues he had been set upon by a group of people at about 9.45pm on February 2.

He activated his personal emergency alarm and was heard over the police radio to shout: “Get back” and; ‘I am Taser trained. Put it down.”

Two other officers were attending a nearby shop when his emergency alarm was activated and

They carried out an immediate search of the area but the group of men who he claimed had attacked him were never found.

An ambulance crew was called to the scene after PC Tovell described being attacked with baseball bats and wooden planks. At hospital he was found to have sustained no apparent injuries and was discharged within a few hours.

Superintendent John Phillips, from the force’s professional standards department, said: “A significant amount of resources and time were put into investigating PC Tovell’s allegation that he had been attacked.

“Initial enquiries, however, found no evidence to corroborate or support the allegation, and ultimately the weight of evidence suggested that the attack PC Tovell reported could not possibly have taken place as he reported.”

Crucially, no one matching PC Tovell’s description of four heavily-built men were found on the extensive CCTV to leave the area and witnesses who came forward described the church yard and surrounding roads as typically quiet at the time of the assault, the force said.

Further inconsistencies such as a lack of audio capturing the attack on the officer’s emergency radio recording and four unaccounted for minutes between PC Tovell leaving colleagues to enter the church yard alone and the activation of his alarm were uncovered.

Police suspended the officer last year after accusing him of arming his Taser and misusing his radio at the churchyard. He was later arrested in March 2018, and during police interview was unable to provide any reasonable explanations.

Assistant Chief Constable Tim Smith, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “A significant amount of time and resources went into investigating what was, on the surface, a report of a very serious assault on a police officer.

“Tovell’s decision to make up being attacked by a group of men not only has a profound impact on the public and its confidence in policing, but also on his colleagues, some of whom have been assaulted while on duty.”

View On police Oracle

 
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