I am pleased to confirm that justice was seen at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday, where four Merseyside Police officers involved in an unconscionable attempt to frame my client Mark Bamber for an offence which had in fact been committed against him by one of their number, were convicted of perverting the course of justice.
Mark was subject to a brutal and unprovoked attack by PC Darren McIntyre after officers had been called to his house in Ainsdale, Merseyside.
The incident occurred in June 2019, when officers accompanying ambulance staff requested permission to enter Mark’s home to carry out a welfare check on Mark’s partner, who suffers from mental health issues. The ambulance had earlier been called by Mark’s partner, but then cancelled because she was feeling better.
At the insistence of the ‘lead’ officer, PC McIntyre, Mark let the four officers, as well as the paramedics, into the house, notwithstanding his own view that this was no longer necessary. Mark was disgruntled by the arrogant and aggressive attitude of PC McIntyre who had threatened to arrest Mark for “obstruction” when he originally refused to allow the emergency team in, on the basis that his partner no longer needed them.
Whilst the paramedics went to speak to his partner (who had gone to bed) Mark waited in the kitchen, and when PC McIntyre entered the room, Mark asked for his collar number, intending to put in a complaint about the officer’s attitude. In response to this, McIntyre warned Mark that he was getting on the officer’s “nerves”, told Mark to “wind your fucking neck in” and again threatened to arrest him for ‘obstruction’ with the words “I will put you in the fucking car” – despite the fact that no ‘obstruction’ could possibly be said to be taking place.
When Mark responded to this goading with the words “Are you sure?”, PC McIntyre launched a totally unprovoked assault upon him – punching Mark in the face and chest five times, before performing a ‘leg sweep’ manoeuvre to take Mark violently to the floor. Whilst Mark was in shock and bleeding from the facial injuries inflicted upon him by PC McIntyre, the officer continued his assault, crushing him against the ground, and handcuffing Mark’s arms behind his back. Mark’s glasses had been knocked off during the assault and were now broken; more seriously, Mark himself was suffering significant discomfort to his face, ribs and wrists.
Mark couldn’t believe what had happened to him, in the safety of his own home. What the three other Police officers made of their colleague’s assault upon Mark is a moot point – but what they did was very telling. Of these three officers, one, PC Garrie Burke, did not have his body camera running; the other two, female officers Laura Grant and Lauren Buchanan-Lloyd had been recording events – but quickly switched off their cameras when their colleague began to assault Mark. This was despite the fact that PC Grant had initially tried to calm her colleague down, and must have known that what he was doing was wrong. PC Buchanan- Lloyd later said in interview that she and PC Grant discussed covering up the evidence of McIntyre’s unprovoked assault upon Mark by claiming that the batteries on both of their cameras had simultaneously ‘died’ – but decided that this might sound too suspicious.
All of this was all the more distressing to Mark because it was being witnessed by his partner – the person whose welfare was supposed to be the entire purpose of the emergency visit was now having to watch to her horror as Mark was beaten up in front of her. Indeed, as Mark’s partner tried to record what was happening to him/ intervene to save him from the assault she herself was arrested – for “obstruction” – attempting to obstruct a criminal assault it would seem?
Mark was led out of the house in handcuffs, and initially taken to Southport Hospital for treatment for the injuries inflicted on him by PC McIntyre – however, no sooner had his cuts been stitched and his chest x-rayed, he was transported to Copy Lane Police Station and advised that he was under arrest for assaulting an emergency worker – specifically, PC McIntyre. The justification for his arrest was given in the following terms in the Custody Record-
“ Assault Police – call … to assist AMBO with a female at location for unknown reason. History of violence towards AMBO. Male opened the door confront and refused entry. States that he cancelled the AMBO warned and failed to desist. Female seen in bedroom to be seen by AMBO. DP continued aggressive behaviour. Warned DP has then elbowed the Officer to the left side of his nose. DP has been struck and then taken to the floor. Handcuffed to rear and C and A no reply.”
This was of course a travesty of the truth, and on hearing that account Mark immediately said to PC McIntyre “You’re a liar.”
Indeed, PC McIntyre knew full well he was a liar – and therefore he and his three colleagues took steps to disguise the true sequence of events. Firstly, the two female officers failed to ‘upload’ to the Police computer system the footage from their body cameras – the footage which would have shown that Mark did not ‘elbow’ PC McIntyre, and that instead McIntyre had struck first with repeated, furious punches. PC McIntyre did upload his own body cam footage, but as is often the case, because it was filmed from a camera worn by a participant in the struggle, the angle of the camera was too close/ obscured for the truth to be seen. McIntyre obviously thought he could ‘get away’ with his deception as long as his colleagues’ footage was not viewed – and remember, the two female officers had deliberately stopped recording, so that McIntyre could continue beating Mark without an ‘audience’.
One would have thought that the main purpose of Police body cameras is to capture evidence of crimes being committed; but not, apparently, when it is an Officer who is committing the crime.
To compound their wrongdoing, all four officers then collaborated in writing statements which provided a false and distorted version of what had happened. McIntyre in his statement falsely alleged Mark had been attempting to head-butt him, and omitted to mention the fact that he had repeatedly punched Mark. He also claimed that Mark had made no comment in response to being ‘cautioned’ whereas the body camera footage had clearly recorded Mark responding with the words “I haven’t touched you…you punched me.”
At a later date, McIntyre met with the other three officers for two and a half hours in a room at Maghull Police Station, as they attempted to ‘massage’ the evidence in order to exonerate the real perpetrator (McIntyre) and frame Mark.
One of the female officers involved in this incident, Buchanan-Lloyd, was, rather tragically, a newly qualified officer only 5 weeks into her career and supposedly under the tutelage of PC Grant. It is in my view despicable that the more senior officers involved roped her into their criminal conspiracy, and makes you shudder to think how many other officers are ‘initiated’ in this way into a culture of ‘police might makes right’, under the pressure of not ‘ratting out’ a fellow officer.
For a month following this incident, Mark had the threat of court proceedings on the false charge of assaulting PC McIntyre hanging over him; fortunately, after Mark was granted ‘no further action’ in regards to the allegations against him, the pendulum swung the other way. In response to Mark’s complaint, an internal Police investigation was commenced and PCs McIntyre, Grant, Burke and Buchanan-Lloyd were all in turn interviewed on suspicion of criminal offences.
Following a 4 week trial at Liverpool Crown Court, all of the officers were convicted of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, with PC McIntyre also being convicted of Actual Bodily Harm In respect of his assault upon Mark. Sentencing will follow next month.
Unfortunately this showcases in one incident many of the worse aspects of Police abuse of power – arrogance; gratuitous bully-boy violence; an attempt to frame an innocent man and officers ‘closing ranks’ and collaborating to hide wrong doing by one of their colleagues – demonstrating a shocking contempt for the very justice system they are supposed to be upholding. If evidence were required, this shows that Police corruption is not confined to our history books or to our TV screens, and reinforces in my mind the need for us to be assured that body cameras are kept rolling during every arrest, search and home entry situation – sadly in order to ensure we can properly police the very people who are wearing them…
Update: the Liverpool Echo has since added to its reporting on this story.
I was quoted in that article and said:
“McIntyre was both the thug who assaulted my client and the ringleader of the criminal enterprise which he and his colleagues embarked upon to cover it up.
“He deserves this punishment, which I trust will send a powerful message to all other officers who think that they are above the law.
“This type of Police corruption – the attempt to frame a person who is in fact a victim of Police violence – has been around for generations, but has now been dragged into the full light of day by modern technology.
“Let us hope that Policing culture itself continues to change with the times, and that next time it is not the cameras which catch the likes of ex-PC McIntyre in the act, but his own colleagues – who should have arrested him on the spot, but in fact did worse than nothing, conspiring in his attempt to criminalise an innocent man.”