Police officer fined after inquiry

A POLICE officer who worked on the "body in the cupboard" murder investigation has been fined for breaching force regulations, it has emerged.Force chiefs have taken the action after the Essex Police Professional Standards department examined a complaint made by Terry Chant, the father of Thorpe-le-Soken murder victim Justin Chant.

By Juliette Maxam

A POLICE officer who worked on the "body in the cupboard" murder investigation has been fined for breaching force regulations, it has emerged.

Force chiefs have taken the action after the Essex Police Professional Standards department examined a complaint made by Terry Chant, the father of Thorpe-le-Soken murder victim Justin Chant.

The officer appeared before an Essex Police disciplinary hearing last week and was fined after it was found he had breached regulations.


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An Essex Police spokeswoman said: "An Essex Police officer faced an internal disciplinary hearing on July 31, when it was found that he had breached police regulations with regard to politeness and tolerance. A financial penalty was imposed."

She said the officer, who has not been named by Essex Police, had not been demoted. He has remained on duty throughout the inquiry.

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Mr Chant had dropped his complaint having been given assurances by senior officers that his concerns would be investigated during an ongoing internal inquiry.

Yesterday he expressed his surprise at the outcome and said he would be pursuing the case with the Police Complaints Authority.

Mr Chant, backed up by his ex-wife, Jean, had four specific grievances relating to the officer. He accused him of neglect of duty; complained about his manner and attitude; and alleged there was a lack of supervision by the officer's supervisor and Essex Police.

Last July an Essex Police spokesman told the EADT: "The focus of our inquiry centres around the (Chant) family's allegation and several other similar allegations of negligence and improper conduct between January and November 2001."

The "body in the cupboard" trial in autumn 2001 saw Stephen Sullivan convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

The court heard how Sullivan tortured 24-year-old Justin Chant and kept him imprisoned in a small cupboard at his home in Byng Close, Thorpe-le-Soken.

Justin was denied food or water by Sullivan and his decomposing body weighed four-and-a-half stone when police found it in the cupboard in November 2000.

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