Pc faces sack after losing assault appeal

A POLICE officer who assaulted a father-of-three moments before he collapsed and died is facing the sack after losing his appeal against two court convictions.

Annie Davidson

A POLICE officer who assaulted a father-of-three moments before he collapsed and died is facing the sack after losing his appeal against two court convictions.

Pc Gary Jay will now appear before an Essex Police disciplinary hearing after a judge rejected his appeal against convictions for the common assaults on Ronnie and Moira O'Reilly.

The couple had been reprimanding their 12-year-old son at their home in Berkeley Road, Clacton, when Jay heard the shouting, having pulled over a driver close to their home.

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After knocked on their door, the Clacton-based officer pushed his way into the house and shoved both Mr and Mrs O'Reilly.

Moments later Mr O'Reilly, a 48-year-old tugboat captain, collapsed with a heart attack and died in an ambulance on the way to hospital on June 14, 2007.

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Jay, 41, was convicted of two common assaults last year but launched an appeal which finished at Basildon Crown Court on Friday when the judge rejected his application.

The officer had been on restricted duties after being charged with the assaults and was then suspended after his conviction last year.

He will remain suspended until the disciplinary hearing decides if he should be punished further.

His Honour Judge Brooke, QC, reduced Jay's punishment from a three-month suspended prison sentence to a 12-month supervision order.

He was also ordered to serve 200 hours' community service and to pay court costs of �5,000 - an extra �3,000 compared to his original conviction.

Following the decision, a spokesman for Essex Police said: “The incident is going to be reviewed against police misconduct regulations to identify whether any breaches have taken place.”

Mrs O'Reilly spoke of her relief the court verdict. “It has been 21 months and I can't believe it is all over,” she said.

“Usually when someone dies you don't try and forget them but you do try and get on with your life but because Gary Jay denied what happened and then appealed against it (conviction) we have had to relive it every day - we have been too frightened to forget any of it when we knew we had to come to crown court and give evidence.

“What Gary Jay did that night was absolutely disgraceful behaviour but afterwards I think he has been just as bad by denying it, he has taken away 21 months of mine and my children's lives.”

She added that she would also have to give evidence at her late husband's inquest and the disciplinary hearing, unless Jay decided to resign beforehand.

“I don't think he should have the right to resign, I feel he should be sacked. As soon as he was convicted the judge should be able to say 'you are no longer a police officer,'” added Mrs O'Reilly.

She especially thanked family friends Carol Bruce from Clacton and Felixstowe couples Pete and Fran and Bill and Belinda, who had helped the O'Reilly family through their ordeal.

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