A disgraced cop who failed to tell a family their son had died then repeatedly lied about it for more than two years, has been sacked.

PC Philip Aiston had falsely claimed he had tried to tell the family and was found guilty of gross misconduct on Friday following a week-long hearing.

The 39-year-old officer had been asked to tell the McGann family of their son Martin’s death on July 19, 2021 but never did.

Read more: Man told he could have faced manslaughter charge for road-rage knock-out blow

He then spent the last two years claiming he had visited their home in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, and tried to deliver the tragic news, but got no answer. He had in fact never called, a panel decided.

Aiston, who attended the hearing earlier this week, did not show up on Friday to hear his fate. His counsel Mr Ponte said: “He has found this week to be somewhat difficult and in particular the level of media interest.”

He had told an “implausible” story, the hearing was told by counsel for Northumbria Police Simon Mallett on Wednesday (September 13). , where he claimed mapping data that placed him five miles away had missed a journey to the McGanns home in the early hours of July 20, 2021.

His version of events was dismissed by the panel on Friday (September 15).

Aiston claimed he had left his colleague PC Patton at the scene of another incident and sped to the McGanns' home 4.8 miles away in less than 10 minutes, on residential roads with blue lights and sirens at 1.30am. He did not tell Patton, or anyone else, where he was going, he said.

He then said he knocked at their door but didn’t ring the doorbell, claiming “I couldn't see a door bell at that time,” before leaving a couple of minutes later when he got no answer.

Giving evidence on Monday (September 11), Martin’s mother Christine McGann said she’d been up all night unable to sleep as it was too hot, and never heard Aiston knock on the door.

“We’d been up half the night. How could we have missed somebody coming?”, she said.

Aiston then suggested he returned to the incident PC Patton had been dealing with before continuing his shift, again failing to mention where he had been to his colleague.

At the end of his shift, he sent an email asking someone to follow up the death notification request, saying “cops attended and didn’t get an answer”.

When asked why he wrote “cops” after later saying he visited solo, he said the error was down to fatigue.

When questions were asked, and he had to file a duty report a week later on July 27, 2021, Aiston made a trip past the McGanns home, which was captured on mapping data. He established what their home looked like and used it in the duty report, making it seem he had visited the previous week.

Aiston argued he made the trip to see if there was any CCTV so his attendance would be “irrefutable” and claimed he’d turned around at the junction to their street but never drove past their home, saying the telematics had created a “phantom” journey.

He then spent the last two years lying about the incident.

A panel found four of five allegations of misconduct against him proven. The first - the fact he didn’t pass on the news to the McGanns - was not considered “to merit disciplinary action”, as failing to tell them was not in itself a course of misconduct, but only the lies he told about it afterwards.

The hearing on Friday heard Aiston had been handed a final written warning less than a month earlier on June 25, 2021 for making an unlawful and unnecessary arrest, use of force and “threatening and abusive behaviour”.

Concluding the week-long hearing at Houghton-le-Spring Police Station on Friday, panel chair Mr Adrian Phillips said: “The panel imposes on PC Aiston the disciplinary action of dismissal without notice.”

Read next:

Support our journalism. Get more from The Northern Echo with a Premium Plus digital subscription, currently just £1 for a month. Click here.

In submissions as to how Aiston should be disciplined his counsel Luke Ponte said: “I do not make a plea to you that PC Aiston can keep his job.

“It’s sad ending a career in circumstances such as this and particularly a career with such obvious potential.”

Aiston had joined Northumbria Police in 2015, having previously taught design technology and woodwork for four years.

He continued: “There are 14 officers who provided character evidence in this case who could not speak more highly of PC Aiston.

“How this came to spiral out of control is not for me to say.”

But Mr Mallet, for Northumbria Police, said dismissing Aiston was the “only appropriate outcome”.

Aiston, an ex-joiner and father-of-two, was dismissed from the force and will no longer be able to serve as a police officer.

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

The McGanns only found out he had died at 11am the next morning when a Bishop rang to offer his condolences.

An inquest later heard Martin had taken an overdose, 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.

Northumbria Police Superintendent Steve Ammari said: “Sadly, from time-to-time, behaviour or conduct of members of our own organisation does fall below the standard we, and the public, expect.

“The overwhelming majority of our officers, staff and volunteers come to work each and every day to make a positive difference to people’s lives – and they equally feel as let down as the public when their colleagues fail to meet the standards they agreed to uphold.

“Policing is facing some challenging times, so it must be brave, acknowledge the issues and face them head on.

“It is why we, in Northumbria, are working exceptionally hard to maintain and build on the trust our communities place in us."