Report shared from BBC website’s Local News page
A FORMER detective has been jailed for eight months for forging a witness’s signature during a murder inquiry.
Robert Ferrow, 50, from Gosport, let the witness sign blank pages on a statement and go home, but added more signatures when he ran out of pre-signed sheets.
He had been investigating the murder of Lucy-Anne Rushton – pictured – in 2019.
The judge said Hampshire Constabulary was reviewing other cases involving the ex-officer.
Passing sentence, Recorder James Watson QC added Ferrow was guilty of “criminal laziness”.
The 30-year-old mother of five was killed by her estranged husband, Shaun Dyson, in the early hours of June 23, 2019.
Dyson then absconded from police and was found several hours later hiding inside a cupboard at the murder scene in Andover.
Previously, Winchester Crown Court had heard that witness Ashley Grace-O’Neill gave a police statement shortly after his friend, Dyson, was arrested.
Ferrow, who had 18 years’ experience as a police officer, allowed the witness to sign blank pages and go home, his trial was told.
According to the prosecution, he then signed more pages himself after running out of sheets. Ferrow accurately transcribed text conversations on to the new sheets to complete the statement.
Earlier, Robert Bryan, prosecuting, had told the court the conduct “strikes right at the heart of justice”.
Recorder Watson said: “It’s shocking that an experienced police officer such as you should commit such an act of dishonesty. It was laziness to a criminal degree.”
The judge said the forgery could have damaged the witness’s evidence at the murder trial.
He ordered the former detective constable to pay prosecution costs of £3,000 and a £140 victim surcharge.
Fiona Ryan, defending, said Ferrow was a former Probationer of the Year, who had won police commendations in 2016 and 2019.
She said the officer had resigned from the force and would eventually move away from the area.
In December 2019, Dyson was jailed for life with a minimum of 17 years after pleading guilty to the murder.