Top mur­der squad de­tec­tive sav­ages Po­lice Scot­land over ‘pros­ti­tute spy row’ case

The Herald on Sunday - - 29.10.17 INVESTIGATION - BY PAUL HUTCHEON

ATOP mur­der squad de­tec­tive has sav­aged Po­lice Scot­land over an il­le­gal spy­ing op­er­a­tion re­lat­ing to the un­solved mur­der of pros­ti­tute Emma Cald­well.

David Mo­ran’s phone records were un­law­fully seized after the force wrongly be­lieved he was in­volved in a leak about the fail­ings of the Cald­well investigation.

Now Mo­ran, a for­mer po­lice in­spec­tor who has just re­tired from the force, has spo­ken for the first time about the “non-ex­is­tent” in­tel­li­gence be­hind the dis­cred­ited Counter Cor­rup­tion Unit’s (CCU) de­ci­sion to tar­get him.

Mo­ran, who got an “un­re­served” apol­ogy from the force, told the Sun­day Her­ald: “What ran­cours most is not just they acted il­le­gally, but they ac­tu­ally made some rub­bish up to do it.”

In April 2015, the fail­ings of the orig­i­nal Strath­clyde Po­lice investigation into the mur­der of Cald­well, a sex worker, first came to light. Her body had been found in woods near Big­gar in 2005.

Strath­clyde’s bun­gled £4 mil­lion probe was laid bare to the pub­lic by the press with the help of re­tired of­fi­cer Gerry Gal­lacher. His work on the case with jour­nal­ists helped re­veal the ex­is­tence of a for­got­ten sus­pect.

Days after the rev­e­la­tions Po­lice Scot­land em­barked on a me­dia mole hunt, rather than a fresh man­hunt.

Of­fi­cers in the CCU used the Reg­u­la­tion of In­ves­ti­ga­tory Pow­ers Act (RIPA), which gives a force ac­cess to phone records and text de­tails, to find out whether for­mer and serv­ing of­fi­cers had helped Gal­lacher bring the in­for­ma­tion to the pub­lic’s at­ten­tion.

How­ever, as re­vealed by the Sun­day Her­ald, the RIPA op­er­a­tion breached the law be­cause the force did not ob­tain ju­di­cial au­tho­ri­sa­tion.

The un­law­ful acts were con­firmed by a watch­dog, trig­gered hear­ings at Holy­rood, and led to an un­prece­dented In­ves­ti­ga­tory Pow­ers Tri­bunal (IPT) in Ed­in­burgh.

Mo­ran, a hugely ex­pe­ri­enced of­fi­cer who worked on high-pro­file gangland mur­ders, was one of the of­fi­cers wrongly sus­pected of in­volve­ment in the me­dia leak.

After 32 years of ser­vice, he re­tired three weeks ago and has de­cided to speak about an in­jus­tice he be­lieves has un­fairly tar­nished his rep­u­ta­tion.

Fol­low­ing the me­dia ex­pose in 2015, Mo­ran im­me­di­ately self-de­clared a long-stand­ing as­so­ci­a­tion with Gal­lacher to the force.

Dur­ing this process, he was asked about Gal­lacher’s phone and he said his friend did not have a mo­bile.

How­ever, Mo­ran said the tele­coms ap­pli- cation used to ob­tain his phone records in­ac­cu­rately stated that he had vol­un­teered the in­for­ma­tion about Gal­lacher not hav­ing a mo­bile, rather than an­swer­ing in re­sponse to a ques­tion.

Based on this claim, he said the RIPA ap­pli­ca­tion was ap­proved and Po­lice Scot­land was able to ri­fle through his phone records.

“It was a non-ex­is­tent in­tel­li­gence base. It was just rub­bish,” he said.

Mo­ran ex­plained: “I never worked on the Emma Cald­well in­quiry. I had never seen a sin­gle piece of pa­per. No de­tailed knowl­edge. No su­per­fi­cial knowl­edge.”

He added: “I asked Gerry for re­as­sur­ance that he hadn’t got his in­for­ma­tion from the po­lice. Gerry gave me that as­sur­ance.”

Mo­ran also de­scribed the of­fi­cers in the CCU who were in­volved as “un­pro­fes­sional”, “in­ept” and “am­a­teur”.

He claimed: “Work­ing on mur­der in­quiries, we would not dream of cut­ting cor­ners, break­ing the reg­u­la­tions and the laws that they did. And to find out they did it, and tar­geted me, is scan­dalous.”

Mo­ran is also an­gry with two for­mer chief of­fi­cers dur­ing a pe­riod he said “wrecked” his last two years in the force.

Neil Richard­son, who was deputy chief con­sta­ble dur­ing the row, gave oral ev­i­dence to MSPs in De­cem­ber 2015 and said there had been a “breach” from a po­lice of­fi­cer to a re­tired of­fi­cer, adding that “the focus was on the serv­ing of­fi­cer in the mur­der squad”.

Mo­ran, be­liev­ing he had been outed by Richard­son, sent a fu­ri­ous let­ter to the Jus­tice Com­mit­tee that de­nounced the then DCC.

Look­ing back, Mo­ran said he felt “sick to the stom­ach” after lis­ten­ing to Richard­son: “In­tegrity is ev­ery­thing in my job. He didn’t name me, but he as good as iden­ti­fied me. I just felt ab­so­lutely out­raged. My in­tegrity was be­ing ut­terly im­pugned.”

On Richard­son, he added: “I feel he hung me out to dry and then dis­ap­peared into the sun­set.”

Ruaraidh Ni­col­son, who in the year of the RIPA con­tro­versy was an as­sis­tant chief con­sta­ble, over­saw the force’s re­sponse to the breaches and also gave ev­i­dence to Holy­rood.

How­ever, Ni­col­son was head of CID at Strath­clyde Po­lice when Cald­well was killed. Mo­ran said he be­lieved this amounted to a “con­flict of in­ter­est” and said he should never have given ev­i­dence in front of MSPs. Asked what he be­lieved was the mo­ti­va­tion be­hind the un­law­ful RIPA op­er­a­tion, he said: “Ut­ter em­bar­rass­ment to Po­lice Scot­land and par­tic­u­lar in­di­vid­u­als within Po­lice Scot­land.”

The for­mer po­lice in­spec­tor also said he had re­ceived a “whole­hearted and un­re­served” apol­ogy from Po­lice Scot­land over his treat­ment, but added the force has never pub­li­cised the fact it said sorry.

Even­tu­ally, the IPT ruled that the force had acted un­law­fully and Po­lice Scot­land asked Durham Con­stab­u­lary to in­ves­ti­gate non-crim­i­nal com­plaints. The Po­lice Ser­vice of North­ern Ire­land (PSNI) is han­dling the mis­con­duct probes into the of­fi­cers be­hind the CCU snoop.

The Durham find­ings have never been re­leased, but Mo­ran said the force rec­om­mended fi­nan­cial rec­om­pense for him and a pub­lic apol­ogy.

In a let­ter from deputy chief con­sta­ble Rose Fitz­patrick, which this news­pa­per has a copy of, she wrote: “We fully ac­knowl­edge that in your case there was no in­tel­li­gence sug­gest­ing you had been in­volved in the dis­clo­sure of ma­te­rial to Mr Gal­lacher, that you did not

make any such dis­clo­sure and that you had no ac­cess to the ma­te­rial thought to have been dis­closed.” On be­half of the force, she added: “As I said to you in per­son when we met ear­lier to­day, my apol­ogy to you is both whole­hearted and un­re­served.”

How­ever, Po­lice Scot­land has never pub­li­cised the let­ter. “I am ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed by not hav­ing a pub­lic apol­ogy,” he says.

Mo­ran is keen to point out he loved his time in the po­lice and stressed he is not a “dis­grun­tled” for­mer of­fi­cer: “I don’t want to un­der­mine my col­leagues, who are still serv­ing. The po­lice get a real knock­ing in the press, which a lot of the time is un­de­served. A lot of peo­ple are do­ing a good job.”

He said of his rea­son for speak­ing out: “The peo­ple who know me, they know there was no way I would have been in­volved in this. But I know for a fact there was a lin­ger­ing doubt, or even out­right sus­pi­cion, amongst other peo­ple within the po­lice.”

Calum Steele, the gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Scot­tish Po­lice Fed­er­a­tion (SPF), said: “David Mo­ran was a highly-re­garded de­tec­tive who worked on many high-pro­file cases. He was clearly wronged by the ser­vice. The SPF was de­lighted to sup­port him through­out this en­tire process.”

Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent Alan Speirs, Head of Pro­fes­sional Stan­dards at Po­lice Scot­land, said: “The PSNI is con­duct­ing an in­de­pen­dent mis­con­duct investigation on be­half of Po­lice Scot­land fol­low­ing the con­clu­sion of Durham Con­stab­u­lary’s en­quiry into com­plaints about Reg­u­la­tion of In­ves­ti­ga­tory Pow­ers Act (RIPA) pro­ce­dures and associated mat­ters.

“As­sis­tant Chief Con­sta­ble Mark Hamil­ton from PSNI has been ap­pointed as the In­ves­ti­gat­ing Of­fi­cer. As such it would not be ap­pro­pri­ate to com­ment fur­ther un­til this investigation has con­cluded. “

Richard­son de­clined to com­ment. Ni­col­son could not be reached.

The body of sex worker Emma Cald­well was dis­cov­ered in woods near Big­gar in 2005

Pho­to­graph by Colin Mearns

For­mer po­lice in­spec­tor David Mo­ran

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