Bribe trial officer admits handling case 'poorly'

Mark Hopkins Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Mark Hopkins outside Cardiff Crown Court

A police officer accused of taking a bribe to end a criminal investigation admitted he handled the case "poorly", his trial has heard.

Det Con Mark Hopkins, 49, of Ton Pentre, Rhondda, denies persuading an assault victim to accept £3,000 to withdraw his witness statement.

Cardiff Crown Court has heard allegations Mr Hopkins was paid £5,000 for his actions.

He denies one charge of perverting the course of justice.

The court has previously heard Mr Hopkins was in charge of investigating a "brutal" baseball bat attack on Richard Diaper in 2008 by a gang outside a garage in Tonypandy, Rhondda.

After reporting the incident, Mr Diaper, who was 17 at the time, received a number of threatening phone calls telling him to drop the charges and offering him £3,000 in the first instance.

Prosecutor Adam Payter had told the court Mr Hopkins played down the threatening nature of the calls and later visited Mr Diaper at his home, telling him he should take the money as the case would take a long time to get to court.

Mr Diaper followed his advice and took the money, the jury heard, but Mr Hopkins denied persuading him to withdraw his statement.

'I'm going to get you'

The court also heard Mr Hopkins did not follow procedure of confiscating the witnesses' and suspect's clothing after the assault, and did not follow orders to seize the witnesses' mobile phones.

"It was poorly handled. I put my hands up to that. I have no recollection why it wasn't done," he said.

The case had come to light after Mr Hopkins' ex-wife Tina Burton came forward with allegations in 2015.

When asked why his ex-wife reported him to the police, he said it was "out of pure malice".

The court heard after 13 years of marriage their relationship ended in acrimony and he told the jury he discussed the case with Ms Burton because he was "annoyed" Mr Diaper withdrew his statement.

He told Cardiff Crown Court: "I've never taken any money from anyone and I've never walked in with a wad of cash."

The court also heard during his police interview, Mr Hopkins told officers Ms Burton would often tell him after they were divorced: "I'm going to get you and your corrupt police friends. I'm going to have your jobs."

The court had previously heard evidence from Ms Burton that the owner of the garage in question was friends with one of Mr Hopkins' colleagues, Det Con Phil Simmons.

She said Mr Simmons had told Mr Hopkins that if he persuaded the victim to withdraw his statement there would be a substantial amount of money for the three of them.

She told the jury her ex-husband had come home with a "wad of cash" which he kept in the kitchen cupboard.

The trial continues.

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