A police officer failed to tell a family of their son’s death - then lied by saying he visited their home but got no answer, it is alleged.

The McGann family only found out their son Martin had died at 11am the next morning when a Bishop rang to offer his condolences.

PC Philip Aiston is also said to have driven by the family’s home a week later to see what the property looked like when questions started to be asked, a misconduct panel was told.

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He made a trip to a hospital, went to deal with another incident and even called for a McDonalds during the shift, when he was acting as a sergeant, when it is claimed he failed to notify the family of their son’s death.

A misconduct hearing, which started on Monday, told Northumbria Police received a request from Thames Valley Police on July 19, 2021, to inform the family of Martin McGann of their son’s death.

Martin, who was studying at Ripon Theology College in Oxfordshire and was a former barrister who practiced family law, was found in his college dorm room. He hoped to be a church minister, following in his Reverend father’s footsteps.

PC Aiston says he drove to the family’s address in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, to deliver the tragic news and arrived at about 1.30am on July 20. He claims he tried to deliver the message, but there was no answer.

The officer initially said he’d tried to make the call at 10.30pm, but later changed the time in his statement and gave a false duty report, it is alleged. He said the duty report had been based on his memory.

But according to communication data on the police car PC Aiston used that night, he did not visit their home. Mr Simon Mallet, representing the case for the appropriate authority, said: “It is clear the vehicle was not in the vicinity at any time.

“The GPS also shows that the vehicle was not at or near the property on the 20th of July.”

Christine McGann, Martin’s mum, who wiped away tears as she spoke, told the panel she and husband Terry were up in the night because it was too hot to sleep and never heard Aiston call.

She said: “We went to bed, and it was only the following day when we had been told by the college that Martin had died we said ‘well somebody should have come’.

“We’d been up half the night. How could we have missed somebody coming? I was going downstairs to get cups of tea and try to keep cool.”

Asked whether she and her husband, who also gave evidence, heard a knock on the door or a ring on the doorbell she replied, “No”.

The McGanns learned of Martin's death after receiving a phone call from Bishop Southern, from his college. A statement from Rev Terry McGann said: "He said he was sorry about Martin which made me think something had happened to him.

"He said 'do you mean you don't know?'"

PC Nick Patton, who Aiston was working with that night, said he was completely unaware of any request to notify the McGanns of their son’s death and that his colleague hadn’t mentioned it.

Detective Constable Mark Taylor read communications evidence showing no police car Aiston was in had visited the McGann’s street on July 19, or July 20.

In a trip that was captured on communications data Aiston later drove to the home on July 27 as he “hoped there would be CCTV cameras there that he was hoping would confirm his attendance”.

The hearing heard PC Aiston clocked off leaving an email for the next shift asking someone to call the McGanns, saying “cops attended and didn’t get an answer”.

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An inquest later heard Martin had taken an overdose, the Mail Online reports. A coroner ruled his death was drug-related and said there was insufficient evidence to rule he had tried to end his own life.

PC Philip Aiston is accused of gross misconduct and failing to notify the McGanns of their son’s death and falsely claiming he tried to tell them when he had not.

He is also accused of visiting their address with no legitimate reason.

The misconduct hearing at Houghton-le-Spring police station continues with an outcome expected by the end of the week.