Police officer cleared of perverting justice

PC Toni Darroch.
PC Toni Darroch.
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A police officer accused of telling a drug dealer to wipe her fingerprints off a box containing cannabis has been found not guilty of perverting justice.

A jury at cleared West Yorkshire Police officer PC Toni Darroch of the charge following a trial at Leeds Crown Court yesterday.

PC Darroch wept with relief in the dock as the unanimous not guilty verdict was announced.

The prosecution claimed PC Darroch had told a convicted drug dealer to remove her fingerprints from a lunchbox containing £200 worth of cannabis before saying she would “forget anyhting ever happened.”

After the case, Aaron Horsfall, of West Yorkshire Police Federation, said on behalf of the officer: “PC Darroch has had a very difficult and traumatic 14 months since her arrest.

“She has maintained her innocence from the start and is delighted with the verdict.

“She now looks forward to getting back to the position that she holds with West Yorkshire Police.”

The trial heard PC Darroch was called to deal with a drugs haul found at a hairdressing salon in Wakefield.

The prosecution claimed the officer told convicted drug dealer Denise Haden to use baby wipes to get rid of her fingerprints during the incident at Trims and Tans, on Doncaster Road, in August last year.

PC Darroch was thealleged to have taken the drugs with her before instructing a police community support officer to make a false entry about the incident on a police log.

Prosecutor Michael Slater said: “The prosecution say that, for reasons we cannot explain, the defendant took it upon herself to dishonestly exonerate Hayden from any prosecution regarding the drugs find.”

Haden got a job at the salon as a barber shortly after being released from prison on licence for drug offences.

Police were contacted after she had offered to sell cannabis to people at the shop and drugs were found by the salon owner Kay Hibbert.

Ms Hibbert told the court PC Darroch said to Haden: “I really don’t know what to do because you are on licence.”

She said the officer then took Wright to the kitchen area and told her to use baby wipes to remove her finger prints from the box.

She added: “The police officer said she would take them. She said ‘I will take them away and forget anything ever happened.’”

PC Darroch denied being deliberately dishonest during the incident.

Haden was later arrested over the incident and has pleaded guilty to drug offences. She is likely to be sentenced at a hearing next month.

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