| 16.8°C Dublin

sinister actions Fake cop who pulled over real PSNI officer exposed as judge allows him to walk free

Serious questions have been raised about what Matueusz Prokopiuk had intended to do had he not been confronted by a cop

Close

Mateusz Prokopiuk (37) outside court this week

Mateusz Prokopiuk (37) outside court this week

Mateusz Prokopiuk (37) outside court this week

This is the wannabe cop who fitted his car with flashing blue lights and pulled over a vehicle - only to discover he'd pulled over a real cop.

Matueusz Prokopiuk from Hobson Park, Portadown, activated the lights inducing the car to pull in, then spoke to the driver claiming to be a police officer.

He told the driver he was a detective working as part of a specialist investigation unit and even produced a fake PSNI identity card.

Fortunately for the public - but less fortunate for the pretend cop - he'd actually pulled in an off-duty PSNI officer who was able to handle the situation and raised the alarm.

But Prokopiuk was allowed to walk free from court on Friday when a judge handed him a suspended prison sentence and a £400 fine.

On leaving Craigavon Courthouse, the 37-year-old was keen to keep his face hidden and was in no hurry to display his identity.

What Prokopiuk's intentions were remain a mystery but a judge raised serious questions about what he had intended to do had he not been confronted by a police officer.

The judge referenced 33-year-old London woman Sarah Everard who was murdered 12 months ago by a cop who arrested her under false pretences.

A previous judge handling the Prokopiuk case had also raised the case of Miss Everard as well as 23-year-old teacher Ashling Murphy who was killed in Tullamore, Co Offaly, as she went for a run in January.

Craigavon Magistrates Court heard how Prokopiuk had activated the lights, then spoke to the driver claiming to be a police officer on October 14, 2021 at the M1 at Portadown.

The charges were initially denied but Prokopiuk changed his plea as a contest was to start at Craigavon Magistrates Court two months ago.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Previously, District Judge Bernie Kelly described the incident as "sinister to put it mildly".

Speaking in January after Prokopiuk had finally pleaded guilty, she said: "The fear that women and girls have in this day and age is palpable...to fit your car with blue flashing lights to stop another vehicle, that is sinister to put it mildly.

"We live in an era where a young lady in London lost her life to a police officer and no later than yesterday Ashling Murphy, who was just 23 years old, lost her life.

"Luckily he stopped an off-duty police officer, and not a lone female, who was able to report him and detect him."

Close

Mateusz Prokopiuk

Mateusz Prokopiuk

Mateusz Prokopiuk

 

A defence barrister said the case against Prokopiuk "bears none of those awful features".

Judge Kelly responded: "It doesn't take much to stretch that to patrolling the streets at night looking for lone females. Thankfully this case involved an off-duty police officer who had the wherewithal to identify the defendant and have him detected."

She directly asked Prokopiuk: "Do you realise how serious this is?"

He replied: "It was the worst decision of my life."

Ordering pre-sentence reports, Judge Kelly said: "I'm just sorry I can't do more. I'm sorry I can't put him on some sort of register."

Prokopiuk was back for sentencing on Friday where a different judge had similar concerns.

The court heard the off-duty officer noticed a vehicle behind him had activated blue flashing lights, so pulled onto the hard shoulder.

The car drew alongside and Prokopiuk asked "do you know the speed limit?" before showing an identity card.

The off-duty officer was immediately suspicious as it clearly wasn't a PSNI warrant card.

He took an image of the vehicle and registration which was traced to Prokopiuk. Police located the car at his home and a search recovered the blue lights.

There was also a card stating 'Private Detective Investigator' and 'Professional Investigator specialising in cybercrime undercover investigation'.

It also bore the PSNI crest and the defendant's photograph.

A further search uncovered a badge bearing his name and the words 'Detective Unit PSNI'.

Close

Mateusz Prokopiuk (37), who was caught pretending to be a policeman

Mateusz Prokopiuk (37), who was caught pretending to be a policeman

Mateusz Prokopiuk (37), who was caught pretending to be a policeman

 

The defence conceded Prokopiuk initially denied the charges and was "very sorry and ashamed of this rather bizarre behaviour".

It was contended Prokopiuk was going through emotional issues and became interested in "paraphernalia relating to police".

On the night in question, he claimed to have signalled the car to stop believing the driver was a work colleague, but thereafter realised he was "in too deep."

Deputy District Judge Philip Mateer said: "The public are entitled to go about their business in a free and democratic society. It's necessary to have a police service to carry out duties and it's necessary for the public to have confidence that anyone stopping them is a lawful police officer with a legitimate purpose.

"We have seen how even a police officer in England abused his powers which ended up in murder case."

He told Prokopiuk "Your case raises issues around the fear the public might have if somebody with blue lights flashing, causes them to stop. It's very fortunate this victim was an off-duty police officer who was able to act appropriately.

"It is not for you to behave in this way. I regard this as a serious matter with particular concerns for the public."

He imposed a two-month prison sentence suspended for two years along with a £400 fine.

steven.moore@sundayworld.com

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Top Videos





Available now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Podcasts.

Privacy