Murder squad detective's career in ruins after pub assault conviction

ASSAULT CONVICTION: West Yorkshire Police Detective Sergeant Paul Whiteley arrives at court for a previous hearing with Claire Hughes, who was cleared of the charge she faced

ASSAULT CONVICTION: West Yorkshire Police Detective Sergeant Paul Whiteley arrives at court for a previous hearing with Claire Hughes, who was cleared of the charge she faced

First published in News
Last updated

A MURDER squad detective's career was in ruins last night (Wednesday, July 23) after he was convicted of a drunken and "unprovoked" attack in a pub while shouting "I'm a copper. I will do what I like".

Det Sgt Paul Whiteley, 51, was found guilty after a two-day trial followed by four hours of deliberations by Scarborough Magistrates.

Whiteley, of Grange Moor, Wakefield, and then partner Claire Hughes, of Fulford Place, Hospital Fields Road, York, both denied assault by beating.

Whiteley showed no emotion as he was convicted. His co-accused Miss Hughes, 43, was cleared.

He was fined £550 with £850 court costs with a £55 surcharge after the court sat until nearly 8pm last night to resolve the case.

The policeman has been a serving officer for more than 22 years, seven of them with the West Yorkshire Police Homicide and Major Enquiry Team.

Mark Kelly, mitigating, said: "Clearly, this has enormous implications.

"He is going to lose his job as a result of this. He will be dismissed summarily I would imagine.

"This is catastrophic for him in terms of reputation built up over many years, his employment, and future prospects."

It was alleged during the trial that Whiteley and Miss Hughes had shared two and half bottles of red wine before they headed for the car park of the Fylingdales Inn, Fylingthorpe, near Whitby, one evening in May last year.

A 41-year-old holidaymaker challenged the couple, thinking they were going to drive after they had been drinking.

Back inside the pub, Whiteley tore off his shirt and assaulted the man, also hurling abuse at the victim's partner, who was accompanied by her 19-year-old autistic daughter.

Giving evidence in his defence yesterday, Whiteley said he told the victim he was a police officer in a bid to calm the situation down.

He denied ripping his shirt off or slapping the man in the face, saying he had taken his shirt off because he had been sweating, intending to walk home in just a coat and jumper.

He claimed the victim had struck the first blow "for no reason".

But presiding magistrate Delia Liddle said the offence was proved "and made more serious by being committed on licensed premises."

She added: "The family of the complainant and a disabled child were present and you were in drink."

Leaving court, Whiteley said he would appeal against conviction.

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