Sunday Telegraph retracts corrupt police claim

A newspaper has apologised over claims two former senior policewomen benefited financially from sex with a former chief constable.

A Sunday Telegraph article alleged the women, who held senior roles at Greater Manchester Police, were involved with disgraced Michael Todd.

Mr Todd was found dead on Snowdon in 2008 after several affairs emerged.

The High Court heard neither woman had sex with Mr Todd nor did they receive unusually large redundancy packages.

Cathy Butterworth and Christine Brereton worked in the force's human resources department until they left in 2011.

'Corruption' claims

They took the Telegraph Media Group to court over the article published in December 2012.

It was headlined "New investigation into claims of corruption against Chief Constable found dead on Welsh mountainside" and illustrated with pictures of them both and the late Mr Todd.

Mr Todd was found to have had several affairs which "adversely impacted upon the reputation of the police service", an inquiry by West Midlands chief Sir Paul Scott-Lee found.

He had sent text messages expressing a desire to kill himself after his wife confronted him about an affair and a coroner ruled he died of exposure when his state of mind was affected by alcohol, a sleeping drug and confusion due to his personal situation.

'Significant distress'

The Sunday Telegraph article suggested the women had been willing beneficiaries of corruption or cronyism on the part of Mr Todd, as a result of either affairs with him or helping to conceal affairs with other women.

Solicitor Jeremy Clarke-Williams said the "serious and defamatory" allegations, which caused "very significant damage, distress and embarrassment", were untrue and without foundation.

The court heard neither woman had any sexual relationship with Mr Todd or were involved in hiding relationships he might have had with others.

The terms of their employment contracts and compromise agreements were not unusual for senior managers, Mr Clarke-Williams added.

The court also heard Mr Todd played no part in the appointment process of either woman, or in the negotiation of their compromise agreements when they left.

Telegraph Media Group publicly retracted the allegations, apologised unreservedly and agreed to pay each of the women undisclosed compensation and their legal costs.

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