Police chief admits ‘failings’ in Hartlepool kidnap probe

Cleveland Police Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer
Cleveland Police Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer

A CHIEF constable has admitted mistakes were made during an investigation into a high-profile kidnap.

Cleveland Police Chief Constable was speaking following new allegations about an independent report into the kidnapping of Hartlepool businessman Tony Pattison.

Leaked extracts from the Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation, which has still to be publicly released, suggest “a host of investigative failures” by the force.

The inquiry is believed to centre on the conviction and then acquittal after a retrial of Bronson Tyers.

Chief Con Cheer, who was not head of the force at the time, said: “When people get to see the report they’ll see that there were mistakes made, lines of inquiry that were missed.

“There were other things that could have been done.

“An expectation is that the person in charge of those investigations thinks widely and tries to make sure that they cover all of those angles and the IPCC report suggests they didn’t.”

She said the force had “learned lessons” and “moved on”.

The force has not commented further on any action it has taken as a result.

Chief Con Cheer said she believed she had “stopped the rot” and done everything “to make sure that the things that were not right have been changed”.

The kidnapping inquiry was the start of a decade-long saga which saw Mr Tyers jailed for 12 years in 2006 for the kidnap of Mr Pattison in Seaton Carew.

The conviction was later overturned on appeal and he was acquitted in the retrial.

Three other men were found guilty.

The case also cost the force more than £500,000 in damages paid to James Watson, Mr Tyers’ solicitor, after he was suspected of being part of a conspiracy to make witnesses change their story ahead of the kidnapping retrial.

Following the retrial, Mr Watson was arrested and held in custody for 30 hours but, despite a two-year investigation, never charged with any offence.

The force agreed to remove any suspicion against him from police records.

The IPCC is said to be completing a second investigation into complaints raised by Mr Watson on behalf of Mr Tyers, 37, of Thornaby, and so has not commented on any reported conclusions.