PC Richard Hammond faces jail for pressuring ex-girlfriend to lie to dodge speeding conviction

·4-min read
PC Richard Hammond (Evening Standard)
PC Richard Hammond (Evening Standard)

A PC is facing a jail sentence after he was shopped to police by his angry ex-girlfriend for trying to dodge a speeding ticket.

PC Richard Hammond, 35, pressured drama teacher Vicky Courtis into lying about the speeding offence, fearing a conviction and penalty points would affect his police career.

Hammond had been driving her Fiat 500 when it was clocked speeding over Tower Bridge in August 2018. But instead of holding his hands up to the offence, the PC told her to pretend they did not know who was driving to frustrate the investigation.

Ms Courtis, a drama teacher, told Inner London crown court Hammond later tried to convince her to “take the points”, saying to her: “If you love me you will do this.”

After being charged with perverting the course of justice, Hammond, a specialist firearms officer in the Met Police, claimed he was the victim of a “revenge” plot orchestrated by Ms Courtis and another woman.

He suggested they had invented false allegations against him out of spite.

Texts from Ms Courtis reveal she had contemplated an “epic f*ck-you to Richard” after their bitter split and wanted to “take him down”, and she told jurors she had been “upset and angry” when the romance broke down.

But she insisted her report to police on Valentine’s Day 2019 - revealing Hammond as the driver - was entirely truthful: “He asked me to lie so he wouldn’t lose his job in the police. He was the person driving the car.”

Hammond denied but was convicted by a jury of perverting the course of justice, and now faces a possible jail term when he is sentenced next Friday.

“PC Hammond attempted to persuade another person to lie on his behalf, behaviour which is completely unacceptable and undermines confidence in our organisation”, said Chief Superintendent Andy Walker, from the Met Police.

“Perverting the course of justice is an extremely serious crime and we will take robust action against officers who fall short of the high standards we expect.”

Hammond will now face misconduct proceedings which are likely to end his police career.

The officer was caught speeding at just after 6am on August 26, 2018, when the Fiat he had borrowed from Ms Courtis was clocked at 30mph on the 20mph bridge.

Texts recovered from Hammond’s own phone revealed he had borrowed the car to drive to and from work, while Ms Courtis was enjoying a weekend with friends and attending a Britney Spears concert.

When she received a notice of intended prosecution from City of London Police, Ms Courtis immediately passed it on to her boyfriend.

Despite knowing he was responsible, Hammond told her to “say you don’t know who was driving” and ask for further photographic evidence.

“He said if we say we don’t know who was driving, they would drop the prosecution”, Ms Courtis said.

“He said he couldn’t take the points - being a police officer you need a clean record of driving. We had just got back together. He was kind of saying ‘if you love me you will do this’. Later on, it developed into ‘you will take the points – if you don’t I will lose my job and it will be your fault’.

“I was trying to prove to him that I did love him and would do that.”

Ms Courtis told Hammond she was “a bit scared about lying”, but said she followed his instructions due to his role as a police officer.

“I knew it wasn’t the right thing to do, but I trusted what he was saying to do, that if I said I didn’t know it would just go away.”

She was not questioned directly during the trial about cheating claims, but said of Hammond: “He had lied about so much.”

Hammond, from West Kensington, was arrested for perverting the course of justice while on a specialist police driving course in the Midlands.

He insisted to officers that they had been unsure at the time about who was driving, suggesting Ms Courtis would sometimes give him a lift to work.

Hammond also called her “quite dumb” in his statement, and suggested she would regularly call him in the middle of the night when he was on a night shift to check that he was actually at work.

Recorder Maya Sikand QC had to admonish Hammond’s supporters for rolling their eyes in court while Ms Courtis was giving her evidence over videolink from Hong Kong.

She is due to sentence the police officer on Friday, September 17.

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