A FORMER detective who deliberately sabotaged investigations into a series of rape cases allowing 11 suspected sex offenders to cheat justice has been jailed for 16 months.
Ryan Coleman-Farrow, 30, of Eversfield Place, St Leonards, told senior officers that victims had dropped the allegations while informing the complainants that their cases were being shelved.
Lazy Coleman-Farrow simply did not bother to interview key witnesses in some cases. He also failed to look for CCTV of the sex attacks or follow up forensic clues.
In each case he falsified police records to cover up the lies he told while working on Scotland Yard’s Sapphire Unit - the team which investigates rapes and sex attacks.
The detective constable’s failures came in 13 cases of rape or sexual assault, involving 13 complainants and 11 suspects. All the offences were committed between January 2007 and September 2010.
Among those let down by the officer’s investigations were a 96-year-old woman, a 15-year-old schoolgirl, and a 14-year-old schoolboy.
Following the discovery of his failings 32 cases had to be re-opened and re-analysed.
Coleman-Farrow admitted 13 charges of misconduct in a public office at Southwark Crown Court.
Prosecutor Mark Heywood QC said on Monday : “This case is not simply one of gross failure to carry out duties of the office of constable but rather in each of the cases having failed properly to investigate those allegations the defendant then went on to create false or misleading records.”
He said Coleman-Farrow had not had an ‘immediate malicious intent’ but had hoped to ‘cover his own failings’ and ‘create the impression he had done all he could to investigate the allegations but, for one reason or another the allegation could not be progressed’.
He added: “In all the cases the actions of the defendant meant the investigations were not properly progressed so that they stalled.”
As a junior detective Coleman-Farrow told one 18-year-old university student, who alleged she had been raped in December 2006 by a fellow student, the CPS had chosen not to proceed with her case.
Mr Heywood said he had entered false reports on the police computer system in April 2007 and then made a second entry the following month saying: ‘Decision received from CPS that is for no further action to be taken against the suspect’.
Coleman-Farrow also failed to check CCTV of an alleged sexual assault on a 15-year-old schoolgirl by a waiter outside an Indian restaurant and claimed a 20-year-old alleged rape victim had withdrawn her support for the investigation.
He went on to claim CPS lawyers had chosen not to proceed with the investigation of an alleged rape of a 49-year-old patient by a careworker.
Mr Heywood said: “The suspect was never contacted nor interviewed by the defendant. He remained on suspension but heard nothing and his employer reinstated him.”
Allegations made by carers of a 96-year-old woman that she had been sexually assaulted were not followed up after Coleman-Farrow failed to submit forensic exhibits and falsely claimed to have obtained witness statements.
He also bungled the investigation of a sexual assault on a 14-year-old schoolboy by a fellow pupil by ‘failing to carry out investigative actions’.
Coleman-Farrow, who joined the M etropolitan Police aged 18, was taken to court after an inquiry by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
The detective was sacked by the Met on April 21 last year after an internal investigation into his alleged misconduct. All the offences took place when he was based at Kingston-upon-Thames, southwest London.
Defence counsel Robert Atchley said that within the space of six weeks in late 2005 and early 2006 Coleman-Farrow separated from his first wife and was diagnosed with cancer. He claimed his offending was not the result of corruption or laziness, but the effects of ill health. He said Coleman-Farrow had ‘always wanted to be a police officer’ and apologised ‘profusely’ to his victims and colleagues.
Judge Alistair McCreath told Coleman-Farrow: “In all 13 cases you failed to take steps that were appropriate and necessary for a full and proper investigation of each case; whether by failing to take statements or to gather exhibits or to pass material on to other agencies for further investigation or analysis.”
He added: “Misconduct of this kind is so serious, both as to its nature and to its effects, as to make a custodial sentence inevitable. I recognise that it did not involve the sort of active corruption for financial gain which is the hallmark of the most serious kind of misconduct but nonetheless that involved you in fundamental failures of duty and persistent and deliberate lying in order to conceal them.
“The effect that this sort of misconduct has on public confidence should not be underestimated.”
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan Howe said the force was ‘disgusted’ with Coleman-Farrow’s behaviour and added: “People should have confidence in reporting rape and it will be investigated thoroughly.”