Wales

Tonypandy police-bribe officer Mark Hopkins jailed

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 detective constable who took a bribe to get an assault case dropped has been jailed for four years.

Mark Hopkins, 49, of Ton Pentre, Rhondda, encouraged a baseball bat attack victim to withdraw a statement.

He was found guilty of perverting the course of justice after a trial at Cardiff Crown Court.

Hopkins had been suspended from his South Wales Police role after the allegations were made in 2014.

The officer had been responsible for investigating the attack on Richard Diaper, 17, in Tonypandy in 2008.

The allegations arose when Hopkins' ex-wife told police about his boasts, the court heard.

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

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

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.

It was thought to be 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.

He told police he had felt intimidated, but Hopkins failed to record details, the jury heard.

Hopkins had tried to minimise the significance of the allegations and did not take further statements or investigate phone records, Mr Payter said. 

Image copyright South Wales Police
Image caption An application will be made to consider Mark Hopkins being made to forfeit his police pension

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."

Police corruption

On sentencing Hopkins the recorder of Cardiff,  Eleri Rees, said: "You had an unblemished record as a police officer.

"And that makes it all the more astonishing you were corrupted in this way.

"Your actions were cynical and motivated by greed and you have shown little remorse."

Following his jailing, South Wales Police said Hopkins' conduct represented an "an appalling example of police corruption".

"Not only did DC Hopkins let down the victim of a serious assault, but also the communities he serves and his colleagues," said Assistant Chief Constable Jeremy Vaughan.

He will now face police allegations of gross misconduct and an application will be made to consider forfeiting his pension.

Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales, Alun Michael described the behaviour as "unacceptable" and "unrecognisable" compared to the force's others staff.

South Wales Police confirmed that a second officer has been suspended from duty in relation to this matter and is due to appear before a misconduct hearing.

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