Former police officer jailed after making “wild accusations” about student he was "obsessed" with

Abubakar Masum, 24, was sentenced today (Friday 13 May) at Cardiff Crown Court. Credit: PA / South Wales Police

A former police officer who falsely told Crimestoppers a university student he was "obsessed with" had shot dead an Albanian gangster has been jailed.

Former PC Abubakar Masum, 24, made several “wild accusations” anonymously about a 23-year-old university student after she had ended their relationship. 

Masum was found guilty of perverting the course of justice - and has now been sacked by South Wales Police for gross misconduct.

Sentencing him, Judge Michael Fitton QC said Masum should “hang his head in shame”, and sent him down for a combined total of three years and six months in jail. 

Former PC Abubakar Masum was sentenced to three years and six months in jail. Credit: Wales News Service

During the trial, Cardiff Crown Court heard Masum and the 23-year-old had only met physically on three occasions, but spoke regularly over the social media app Snapchat. 

After Masum made the anonymous tip offs, the 23-year-old girl was arrested by armed police in her part-time job and had her student accommodation raided as officers searched for a gun. 

Before Masum was sentenced on Friday May 13, a victim impact statement was read to the court. 

She described being questioned by police in front of her Tesco colleagues as “frightening and embarrassing”. 

“I felt myself feeling very paranoid and I’d lost my self confidence”, the victims statement continued. She said she used to go out running and walking but following the incident she said: “I tend not to go anywhere in the evening on my own”. 

She also said “Masum staring at me while I gave evidence was intimidating”. 

In front of his brother and sister who attended court, Mr Masum looked on emotionless from the dock as his barrister, Mr Graham Trembath QC made his speech in mitigation. 

“The reality is that any sensible police investigation would have concluded at the earliest possibility that [the victim] was an utterly respectable young woman”, Mr Trembath QC said 

“They had to take these reports seriously and of course they did… but these allegations were so wild and florid that no one would ever believe them”. 

Mr Trembath did however accept on Masum’s behalf that: “The pain and suffering caused to [the victim] was not insignificant”.  

After taking a short break to consider his decision, Judge Michael Fitton QC said: “Prior to your commission of these offences, the features of your personality that were good were numerous. I accept that as a young man you were a loyal family member, loyal to your community and demonstrated a genuine and sincere commitment to helping the public”. 

“But the facts of the case tell a very different story”, he continued. 

The Judge said Masum had used the police computer database to look up details on a man who was “friendly” with the victim. Following that he made a call to Crimestoppers to say his ex-girlfriend was hiding a loaded handgun for another man. 

Twenty police officers, including some who were armed, arrived at her address, cuffing a housemate and putting them in a police van while they searched the property. 

“If everything good said about you is true, you would have recoiled with embarrassment at the impact of what you had done… instead you went on”. 

In another call to Crimestoppers, he said his ex-girlfriend was going to act as a driver for a man who was going to kill someone as part of a drug deal. 

In another call, he said the gun was linked with an Albanian drug gang and that there was a feud between his ex-girlfriend and the gang. 

At this point, the police realised that in order to know some of the details he had referred to in his calls, Masum either had to be a serving South Wales Police officer or someone heavily involved in the criminal underworld. 

Masum also falsely claimed to law enforcement that his ex-girlfriend had used the gun she was allegedly hiding to shoot a drug dealer in the leg. 

The Judge said the fact Masum had used the police’s computer system and had used information he had gained from his work were aggravating factors. 

“The impact on her as a student is that it has been disruptive to the life of her and her family, and have led to her leaving Swansea. You have wasted police time, and for what, I may ask?”, the Judge said in court. 

“It is clear that you are a complex and troubled man”, Mr Michael Fitton QC continued.  

“The obsession is not with [the victim], but with yourself.

“You are so wrapped up with feelings about yourself, your background and your desires that you do not comprehend the impact you've had on [the victim] and others”. 

The judge said he had hoped Masum would have been “man enough” to accept the suffering he had caused. “I have been disappointed”, he concluded. 

“[The victim] could not understand why a person who had been so nice to her… could be responsible for this. And in your determination not to admit what you did, you are denying her an explanation”. 

“There is bad in you that you need to face up to”, the Judge continued. 

“You represent a medium risk of serious harm to the public”, including to the victim, her friends and family. 

Masum was then asked Masum to stand in the dock. He was wearing a dark grey suit and patterned tie. 

“The conclusion I have reached is that your motivation was malice and this was a form of harassment of [the victim] and her friends through Crimestoppers, knowing the police would have to act due to the serious nature of the allegations”. 

He said he had done damage to his family and to the police force, for which, “You should hang your head in shame”, the Judge said. 

In addition to his prison sentence, a restraining order was place on Masum for an indefinite period and he will be forced to pay a victim surcharge. 

Masum turned to his family members in court for one final look before he was led from the dock.