DCSIMG

Top detective stopped for drink driving as his officers investigated Leeds teacher’s stabbing

Detective Chief Superintendent David Knopwood, the head of the West Yorkshire Police's Protective Services (Crime) arrives at Harrogate Magistrates' Court to answer charges of failing to provide a specimen after he was stopped by North Yorkshire Police officers in Knaresborough.

Detective Chief Superintendent David Knopwood, the head of the West Yorkshire Police's Protective Services (Crime) arrives at Harrogate Magistrates' Court to answer charges of failing to provide a specimen after he was stopped by North Yorkshire Police officers in Knaresborough.

  • by Tony Gardner
 

One of West Yorkshire Police’s most senior detectives has admitted to failing to provide a specimen after he was stopped making his way home from the pub on the day Leeds school teacher Ann Maguire was killed.

Det Chief Supt David Knopwood, head of the force’s protective services, pleaded guilty to the offence when he appeared before a court today.

Magistrates heard Knopwood, 49, is one of the force’s most high ranking officers and had been “hand picked” for his role by the chief constable.

Harrogate Magistrates Court heard Knopwood was stopped by officers from North Yorkshire Police in Knaresborough, just after 11pm on April 28 after they noticed him driving “extremely slowly”.

Knopwood told officers he had had two pints when asked if he had been drinking.

He was then asked to take a road side breath test and was more then one-and-a-half-times the legal limit.

Melanie Ibbotson, prosecuting, said Knopwood complained of feeling unwell as he was taken to the police station and said he wanted to go to hospital to see a doctor.

The prosecutor said: “Officers were of the opinion that Mr Knopwood was well enough to be taken into police custody and take the full breath test procedure.

“During the procedure he declined to provide the necessary evidential samples of breath and stated that he was unwell.”

Knopwood, of Park Lane, Knaresborough, was taken to hospital where he was quickly assessed and returned to custody without treatment.

John Dye, mitigating, said Knopwood could lose his career as a result of the conviction as he was facing a disciplinary procedure by West Yorkshire Police.

Mr Dye said: “The conviction means the community...will, or may lose a dedicated, hard-working and talented public servant.

“A momentary lapse of judgement on April 28 is going to have a profound effect.”

The solicitor handed magistrates five references which he said described Knopwood in “glowing terms.”

Mr Dye said Knopwood had felt unwell as he had banged his head as he was getting into the police van after being arrested.

He said Knopwood had been up early on the day of the offence and had not eaten all day because he had been so busy at work.

Mr Dye told the court Knopwood had called to a pub less than half a mile from his home to “unwind” and watched football.

He added: “He was shocked and surprised at the reading on the road side breath test.”

Magistrates heard the consequences for Knopwood, his wife and 12-year-old daughter would be “catastrophic” and have a profound financial effect on them.

He added: “He had given 24 years of service to his community. He has risen to the top echelons of West Yorkshire Police - the fourth biggest police force in the UK.

“This is genuinely a man who is remorseful and apologetic.”

Knopwood was banned from driving for 12 month and ordered to take part in a drink driving rehabilitation course.

He was also fined £1,000 plus £180 costs.

Knopwood had been head of West Yorkshire Police’s protective services, formed when the force’s Crime Division and Homicide and Major Enquiry Team were merged, since November last year.

He was suspended following his arrest.

He authored the Operation Newgreen report into West Yorkshire police officers’ relationship with Jimmy Savile.

After the hearing, Det Chief Supt Andy Brennan, Head of Professional Standards, said: “West Yorkshire Police expects the very highest standards of its officers and staff, both on and off duty.

“This case clearly demonstrates the serious consequences when someone falls below that standard. Following today’s hearing we will quickly move to conclude the disciplinary process.”

 

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