Detective 'forged witness signatures during murder investigation', court told

Lucy-Anne Rushton was murdered by her estranged husband Shaun Dyson in 2019 Credit: Hampshire Police

Prosecutors say a detective involved in a murder investigation into the brutal killing of a mother-of-five forged signatures on a witness statement.

Detective Constable Robert Ferrow, of Hampshire Police, was investigating the death of Lucy-Anne Rushton, who was murdered by her estranged husband Shaun Dyson in 2019.

Ferrow, 50, who has 18 years' experience as an officer, appeared for trial at Winchester Crown Court on Monday after denying a charge of forgery.

Prosecutor Robert Bryan told jurors that the case concerns a witness statement given by an Ashley Grace-O'Neill to Ferrow on June 23 2019.

After speaking to the detective for up to two hours, Mr Grace-O'Neill asked if he could return the next day.

Ferrow said he needed to copy various text messages that Mr Grace-O'Neill had provided screenshots of into the statement before it could be submitted, the jury was told.

According to Mr Grace-O'Neill, the court heard Ferrow said "because I am only copying it out and you will be able to read it at a later date, do you want to sort of sign a couple of pages and I will write it out?"

The witness agreed but told Ferrow he still wanted to return and read the statement to check it was accurate, and the detective agreed.

However Mr Grace-O'Neill returned the following day asking to read his statement but no-one was able to help, the court heard.

Shaun Dyson was jailed for life for murdering his estranged wife in Andover Credit: Police handout

Prosecutor Mr Bryan said: "When he saw the witness statement from June 23 he could see that there were a number of pages that he had not signed.

"He reiterated that he had signed some blank pages, but some of the pages in the witness statement now completed had not been signed by him.

"Those not made by him had been forged."

Lucy-Anne Rushton died from multiple injuries at her home on Suffolk Road on June 23 2019 Credit: ITV News Meridian

In total Mr Grace-O'Neill estimated that at least five pages purporting to bear his signature were not signed by him, the court heard.

When interviewed about the issue, Ferrow claimed that Mr Grace-O'Neill had suggested signing blank pages, not him.

He added that when he had finished copying in the text messages that Mr Grace-O'Neill had provided there were still two signed blank pages left.

Ferrow denies forging Mr Grace-O'Neill's signature.

The trial continues.