Northamptonshire chief constable Nick Adderley denies he exaggerated his military service in new evidence brought to misconduct hearing

Nick Adderley, Northamptonshire's chief of police, has denied gross misconduct and that he "acted without honesty and integrity".
-Credit: (Image: Jacob King/PA Wire)

The gross misconduct hearing for Northants police chief Nick Adderley could now be adjourned until June if they do not hear back from a key witness tomorrow (May 31). The top cop has remained on full pay throughout his suspension, at £176,550 a-year.

On the third day of the hearing, when the two counsels were due to begin their summing up of the submissions heard so far throughout the case, further evidence was brought forward to suggest the top cop was the source of yet more dishonesty.

Two books were put to the panel surrounding the killing of two Greater Manchester Police Officers, PCs Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone, in 2012 whilst they were on duty. As Chief Superintendent at the time, Nick Adderley was directly quoted exaggerating his position and service in the armed forces.

He denies that the quotes came from him.

The first book 'An Extraordinary Sacrifice' was written on the murders by Bryn Hughes, the father of PC Nicola Hughes. It included direct quotes from Mr Adderley describing the tragedy, on top of a long foreword about the horror of the deaths of the young women and his subsequent relationship with the family.

A quote attributed to Mr Adderley read: "It was like an out-of-body experience. I had held a senior position in the armed forces and I had been in conflict situations, but this was like nothing else, because the rules of engagement were completely different.

”Two unarmed officers, young women in the prime of their lives, had gone to a routine call and been slaughtered.”

In the other book 'Lured to Their Deaths', written by experienced Manchester Evening News (MEN) journalist John Scheerhout, the chief constable dictated that he "experienced loss of life in active service", but that the loss of the two officers was "completely different".

It also included false assertions that Mr Adderley had served as a lieutenant with the Royal Navy for 10 years and that he saw colleagues die in the Falklands conflict when he evidently was not there.

Matthew Holdcroft, defence counsel for the chief of police, said there was "no dispute" that Mr Adderley had written the foreword for one of the books, but that he did not supply the direct quotes for either.

Mr Scheerhout refused to give evidence when called on by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) after he received his own legal advice, but asserted that he would have "properly sourced everything that he produced".

John Beggs KC, the counsel setting out the allegations against Mr Adderley, said: "What's the chance that not a single police officer raised those books with Mr Adderley? Mr Adderley must have known about those books.

"He had an immediate duty to put on record with the author that he has been wrongly described. Perhaps most egregiously you have suggested that you saw 'colleagues die in the Falklands'.

"Why did the chief constable make no mention about the existence of the two books if it's the case that they are wholly wrong in what they say about him? He was hoping, no doubt, that they would never come to light."

He added that it would be a "preposterous suggestion" that a man "who suffered the most grievous tragedy" by losing his daughter had "made this up".

The defence counsel contacted the author Mr Hughes, a character witness for Mr Adderley, who said that the quotes were not taken directly from the top cop and were instead taken from other articles with consent from journalists. He did not wish to give further evidence in the hearing.

When questioned why Mr Adderley would not correct the false claims made about his service, Mr Holdcroft said it was a time in his life that he did not want to revisit.

Mr Holdcroft added: "Mr Adderley is understandably unhappy. He does not wish to be in this position but he has been placed in that."

Legally qualified chair Callum Cowx said that the panel would enquire tomorrow to contact MEN journalist and author of one of the books in question, Mr Scheerhout. He added that it was a "very important matter" and that they would not be able to take closing submissions until they knew what his position was.

The hearing will continue tomorrow at the Northamptonshire County Cricket Club, despite its initial scheduling for three days, and could carry on into next week.

If the panel do not hear back from the key witness tomorrow the whole process could be adjourned until June 20.