A misconduct hearing is told of events which led to a serving PC confronting a retained Firefighter after learning about an affair that the Firefighter was having with his wife of 16 years
Thursday 14th June | by Cop(ex) | Follow us on Twitter @ES_Humour |
A misconduct hearing has heard how a North Yorkshire based Police Officer visited the home of a retained Firefighter who had an affair with his wife.
PC Christopher Parnell is accused of breaching standards of professional behaviour and conduct.
At the misconduct hearing, a three-person panel, led by Chairman Tom Mitchell, heard that in July ’17 PC Parnells wife had an affair with retained Firefighter Robert Billings.
Billings was stationed with North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service and had carried out ‘odd jobs’ around the family home of the Parnell’s having known the family for 12 years,
Several weeks after the affair started, Billings discovered that PC Parnells wife had confided in a friend at her local gym about the affair and it had become local knowledge in the community of Boroughbridge.
On 11th August 2017, the retained Firefighter went to the home of PC Parnell and his wife. The misconduct hearing was told that the couples daughter answered the door and he asked to speak to her mother.
He then told Kath Parnell that their affair was common knowledge and that it had “ruined his life” as he would now have to confess to his girlfriend about the affair.
He told the panel: “I asked if Chris Parnell knew and she said, “no”, and asked me to cover it up by saying it was a lie and that she wanted attention. I said, “no, it’s come out now I wanted to tell my partner the truth.”
The following morning, Billings saw PC Parnell drive down his street at around 0500 after he had returned home after taking their family dog for a walk and Billings told the hearing that he became “worried and scared”.
Billings rang PC Parnell and left him a voicemail message on his mobile phone saying that he was sorry for what had happened and that he “didn’t want to cause any harm”. Billings requested to speak with PC Parnell in private about the affair.
Billings also communicated to PC Parnell that he felt ‘intimidated’ by seeing him drive along his street.
The following day, PC Parnell turned up a Robert Billings home.
Billings told the hearing that PC Parnell had been wearing a ‘civilian shirt’ and trousers with a lanyard around his neck.
Billings stated that he felt PC Parnell’s mannerisms were “anxious” and “angry”.
He went on to tell the panel that PC Parnell demanded to enter Billings’ home and said he kept reassuring him that he ‘wasn’t doing to do anything’ as he didn’t want to risk his job in the Police Force.
Billings told the panel “I still didn’t like his mannerisms towards me. They were aggressive and abrupt”….
He went on to state that Parnell asked him for his mobile phone in order to look through his messages. Billings handed Parnell the phone having unlocked the device before giving it over.
He said: “I was scared. I didn’t know what the outcome of that conversation would be.”
He told the panel that even though the police officer kept reassuring him he wasn’t going to “get aggressive”, he didn’t know if he would hit him.
PC Parnell’s barrister, Michael Rawlinson, questioned the witness over his claim that he didn’t know why PC Parnell had gone to his home.
He said: “Had you not gone around to PC Parnell’s house, he would never have gone around to yours, isn’t that fair? Given that you left him a voice message saying you wanted to talk about matters with him and you had been round his house it’s hardly suspicious he went to your house. It’s not outlandish given what had occurred. He had been married 16 years or thereabouts. At the end of the day he was very upset and embarrassed about what had happened to him and they were very understandable emotions.”
He also put to Mr Billings, that his description that the police officer came to his door and ordered him into his house was incorrect, as a recording the police officer took of the conversation showed when he answered his door to the police officer, he said: “Hello mate, how are you?” and asked if they could have a quick chat.
He also put to Mr Billings that he voluntarily opened his mobile phone for the police officer so he could see the messages between Mr Billings and his wife and then explained how to access them.
The hearing is expected to last three days.
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