South Wales Police officer guilty of taking bribe

Mark Hopkins Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Mark Hopkins had denied the allegation and said his ex-wife reported him to police "out of malice"

A suspended detective constable accepted a bribe to persuade an assault victim to withdraw his statement.

Mark Hopkins, 49, of Ton Pentre, Rhondda, was found guilty of perverting the course of justice.

He was the officer responsible for investigating a baseball bat attack on Richard Diaper, 17, in Tonypandy in 2008.

Cardiff Crown Court heard allegations arose in 2014 after Hopkins' ex-wife told police about his boasts.

She described him coming home and putting "a bundle of notes" amounting to between £500 and £1,000 in cash on the kitchen table.

Image caption The suspended South Wales Police detective constable stood trial at Cardiff Crown Court

The court had heard Mr Diaper was hit on the head and repeatedly struck when he was on the floor after getting cash out at a garage.

While he gave descriptions of the attackers and number plate details to police, it was thought it may have been a case of mistaken identity.

Prosecutor Adam Payter said the victim started receiving "threatening" calls telling him to withdraw his statement and was offered £3,000 by someone claiming he was from the Manchester drugs underworld.

While he told police he felt intimidated, the court heard Hopkins failed to record details.

Prosecutors alleged Hopkins tried to minimise the significance of the allegations and did not take further statements or investigate phone records. 

'Pure malice'

He also visited Mr Diaper's house while off-duty and encouraged him to withdraw his witness statement before countersigning a form bringing the investigation to an end.

Six years later, the offending came to light when Hopkins' ex-wife described his boasts about receiving money from the garage owner.

Hopkins said his wife reported him to police "out of pure malice" after their 13-year relationship ended in acrimony.

He had told the jury: "I've never taken any money from anyone and I've never walked in with a wad of cash."

Hopkins was remanded in custody to be sentenced at a later date.

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