Nottingham

Nottinghamshire detective Peter Surgay sacked for 'affair with murderer's lawyer'

Police cordon on Sandy Lane
Image caption Det Con Peter Surgay was a family liaison officer following the murder of Clifford Collinge, who was killed in Warsop, Nottinghamshire

A police officer who supported the family of a murder victim while having an affair with a solicitor of one of the accused has been sacked.

Det Con Peter Surgay was a family liaison officer following the murder of Clifford Collinge in Nottinghamshire in October 2011.

A misconduct panel was told he had a "volatile" on-off relationship with solicitor Deborah Bell since 2009.

Surgay claimed it was a mostly platonic relationship.

Ms Bell went on to act as a solicitor for Stephen Shreeves, who is now serving a life sentence for the murder of Mr Collinge after being found guilty in 2012.

Det Con Surgay, 42, failed to report the nature of the relationship, which "could have potentially compromised a major investigation", the panel heard.

Det Con Surgay sought to downplay the relationship, which saw him and Ms Bell travel abroad to California, Dublin and Germany, and claimed it was "platonic" except for a "drunken fumble" early on.

Image caption Mr Collinge was attacked with a metal clamp and suffered dozens of injuries

Chairman of the panel Delroy Henry said: "Det Con Surgay knew there was potential compromise or conflict of interest."

Richard Wormald, representing Det Con Surgay, argued the offences were at the lower end of the spectrum and said the offences had caused "no harm".

Det Con Surgay was also accused of misusing police computers, including accessing records of an incident where a car registered in his name was reported for making off from a petrol station without paying - known as bilking.

The panel ruled that both allegations of gross misconduct were proven.

"We are not looking at a single allegation but two, and what we are looking at here was a course of conduct not for one day, for one week, but years," Mr Henry said.

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