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  1. ITV Report

Essex police officers guilty after showing 'cynical disdain' for child abuse victims

Detective constables Sharon Patterson and Lee Pollard Credit: Press Association

Two police officers have been found guilty of sabotaging child abuse investigations.

Detective constables Sharon Patterson, 49, and Lee Pollard, 47, forged documents, concealed evidence and lied about investigations out of laziness and a "cynical disdain" for victims, the Old Bailey heard.

Patterson was even accused of ditching work to get a manicure and have a four-hour-long lunch at a Chinese restaurant with her married lover Pollard.

When she forged a document to shut down one investigation, Pollard described her as his "deceptive partner in crime" in flirtatious emails, jurors heard.

The pair denied wrong-doing - citing administrative chaos at the child abuse unit in north Essex where they both worked.

Essex Police headquarters in Chelmsford Credit: ITV News Anglia

But prosecutor Alexandra Healy QC said their behaviour went "beyond incompetence" and could not be put down to insufficient manpower or resources. The couple, who live together in Colchester, Essex, denied charges of misconduct in a public office each between 2011 and 2014.

Patterson was found guilty of one charge and cleared of a second while Pollard was convicted of two charges of misconduct.

The jury was discharged from considering one more charge against each defendant which will lie on court file.

Judge Nigel Lickley QC adjourned sentencing until May 3.