Misconduct proceedings dropped against retired senior police officer over Grainger death

Credit: GMP

A retired assistant chief constable accused of misleading a public inquiry into the shooting of an unarmed man will not face misconduct proceedings.

Allegations against Steven Heywood, who retired from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) in 2018, were dismissed by a panel at an online hearing on Tuesday, as the force was accused of a "fundamental disregard" for everyone involved in the proceedings.

Mr Heywood was investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) after giving evidence at an inquiry into the death of Anthony Grainger, 36, who was fatally shot by a firearms officer in a car park in Culcheth, Cheshire, in 2012.

The investigation found he may have committed a criminal offence but in November 2018 the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided not to charge him due to insufficient evidence.

The senior officer, who was the gold commander involved in the manhunt for police killer Dale Cregan, faced a gross misconduct hearing for allegedly breaching the force standards of honesty and integrity.

He admitted he did not initially tell the inquiry entries in his firearms log were made retrospectively.

The log, which contained inaccurate information about Mr Grainger's previous convictions, was alleged to have been made to "retrospectively justify" Mr Heywood's decision to authorise a firearms operation carried out in the days leading up to Mr Grainger's death.

But, on Tuesday, Gerry Boyle QC, representing GMP, said it would be "unfair" to continue as the hearing would not have access to redacted material, including evidence given during closed session at the public inquiry in 2017.

Dismissing the allegations, chairwoman of the panel Nahied Asjad criticised the delay in the proceedings.

She said: "Mr Grainger's family, Mr Heywood and the public have been let down by the appropriate authority in this case and we note there was no contrition or apology to anyone in what was said on their behalf this morning."

Mr Boyle had initially asked for an adjournment in the case to see whether redactions could be lifted.

But John Beggs QC, representing Mr Heywood, said it would not be possible for the redacted evidence to be heard and accused the force of an "omnishambles" for delays in the case.

Mr Grainger's partner, Gail Hadfield Grainger, requested to make a submission to the hearing but was not allowed.

The father-of-two was unarmed when he was shot through the windscreen of a stolen Audi on March 3 2012.

In January 2014 the then chief constable of GMP Sir Peter Fahy was charged with a health and safety breach over the shooting, but the case was thrown out after it was argued evidence was so secret it could not be put before a jury.

Last year the public inquiry into his death found "serious deficiencies" in the planning and conduct of the operation by senior officers.

Credit: MEN Syndication

We are disappointed that, two years after our investigation concluded, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has decided to offer no evidence in this matter.

Steve Noonan, IOPC Director of Major Investigations

Following submissions made at the gross misconduct hearing in relation to retired ACC Heywood on Monday 1 June 2020, the force have made the decision not to pursue these proceedings further and invited the panel to dismiss the charges against Mr Heywood.This misconduct case involved consideration of some complex issues relating to certain information and intelligence which, for legal reasons, could not be provided to Mr Heywood and could not be made public or indeed even shared with the panel dealing with the misconduct hearing. Evidence relating to those things was heard in private at the Anthony Grainger Public Inquiry and as such was redacted from the public records of that Inquiry. The law concerning what can be disclosed in a public inquiry is different from that in misconduct proceedings.

Deputy Chief Constable Ian Pilling