Suspect in PSNI chief shooting claimed he had ‘inappropriate’ relationship with female cop
A suspect in the attack on DCI John Caldwell once told this newspaper he was involved in an ‘inappropriate’ relationship with a police officer – despite cops thinking he was involved in the murder of PC Ronan Kerr.
The criminal, originally from the Protestant community, told this paper ten years ago he had been in a “bizarre” relationship with a serving cop who he claimed was tipping him off about raids on his house in relation to the 2011 car bomb that killed Constable Kerr.
His house was raided on Friday by cops investigating the attempted murder of Detective Chief Inspector Caldwell.
We can also reveal the 33-year-old man, who’s Protestant father was also arrested and then released last week as part of the same investigation, was also a major suspect in the murder of Constable Ronan Kerr.
Earlier this week we revealed how a number of those arrested as part of the DCI Caldwell investigation were from the Protestant community — but we can reveal the 33-year-old, who was once convicted as part of a sinister kidnap plot, is also a republican sympathiser.
Despite being arrested, though never charged with anything to do with Ronan Kerr, he revealed to us in 2013 he had formed a bizarre ‘relationship’ with a female police officer who was later reprimanded for having sex with one of his criminal pals.
We met the man at his home in Co. Tyrone but we were prevented from running the story because the police officer threatened to take out an injunction — because, incredibly, she claimed her security would be put at risk.
The man approached us at the time because he claimed he was being “tortured” by the PSNI because he had refused to become a police tout in the aftermath of his arrest during the Ronan Kerr investigation.
He says he told them not only had he nothing to do with the murder of PC Kerr, he didn’t know anything about it and would have nothing of interest for the police.
However, he complained that despite being on bail and wearing a tag police had “harassed” him and had called at his home to check he was there over 150 times – often during the middle of the night.
And he claimed that while he was a suspect who cops thought had something to do with the car used in the attack on Constable Kerr, the shamed female officer tipped him off that cops where on their way to raid his house.
The female officer was investigated by the PSNI and she was never sanctioned for divulging information to criminals.
We met this man inside his house – the same one cops raided on Friday morning – almost a decade ago along with one of his crime pals.
While his pal admitted to having sex with the police officer on two occasions, the Caldwell suspect told us he hadn’t had sex with her but admitted his relationship with her was certainly “inappropriate”.
“She used to call round to the house all the time,” he told the Sunday World seven years ago. “She made it clear to me she wanted to take the relationship further, but I always refused.
“From her point of view it was definitely inappropriate because the cops thought I had something to do with Ronan Kerr, which I absolutely didn’t, but for her to be getting close to me like that wasn’t right.
“She’d call round for cups of tea late at night as if we were close friends. It was really bizarre.”
But he claims things got really bizarre when the officer started tipping him off about the investigation into him.
He told us: “I remember one time she called me to warn me the cops where on their way round to raid my house. Even I could see that was completely bizarre.
“She phoned me out of the blue and told me they [the police] thought he had the keys to some car and they were coming to raid my house. I was shocked, but sure enough two hours later the cops turned up and raided my house.
“Another time the cops pulled me over and claimed they’d stopped me because I was using red diesel. She came up to me and started whispering in my ear, ‘They want your licence’.”
He also claims the officer once caught him not wearing a seatbelt but let him go.
Incredibly, the serving officer was not prosecuted despite a file being sent to the PPS, but she was sanctioned internally and her pay was docked, though she kept her job.
Misconduct charges were upheld — two ‘integrity matters’ and two ‘professional duty matters’ following an internal PSNI probe, but the PPS said: “The test for prosecution was not met on the grounds of insufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction.”
It has also emerged the man, who is facing a number of criminal trials linked to drugs – including one on mainland Europe – was listed to appear at court on Friday to face more criminal charges but as he was in Musgrave Serious Crime Suite at the time, the case was adjourned.
To date eight people have been arrested in connection with the shooting of Mr Caldwell as he finished up coaching a children’s soccer team in Omagh 11 days ago.
As revealed by the Sunday Worldduring the week, at one point police had four members of the Protestant community in custody for the New IRA attempted murder while four known republicans had been released unconditionally.
One of the Protestants has a conviction for a loyalist gun attack in the 1980s but while some of those involved have links to criminality none are considered to be actual ‘loyalists’.
As of last night two suspects remained in custody, including the man who told us about his cop relationship.
DCI John Caldwell had been the lead investigator in the murder of PC Ronan Kerr and two of the eight people arrested for his attempted murder last week were also lifted during the Kerr inquiry.
Police Constable Ronan Kerr, a 25-year-old Catholic, was killed on April 2, 2011, when a booby-trap bomb exploded under his car in Omagh.
The criminal gang the serving cop had got close to was suspected of involvement in the theft of cars for dissident republicans involved in the murder plot.
Responsibility for the attack was later claimed by a dissident republican group claiming to be made up of former members of the Provisional IRA. No one has ever been charged with his murder.
The Caldwell suspect’s criminal mate admitted he did have sex with the shamed cop.
He told the Sunday World: “Every time I drove into town I could guarantee she would pull me over. It was never for any offence; it was always just for a chat.
“She would always be in a police car with her uniform on. She’d ask questions about what I was up to and if I was going out at the weekend.
“I knew from early on she was flirting with me.
“The strange thing was, she was always alone. Often I’d hear her police radio going.
“They would be shouting, wanting to know where she was because she was supposed to be back to the station ages ago.
“Then she phoned me one night when she was drunk. She told me she was drinking with work colleagues in a local bar.
“She told me to come and pick her up. I met her at the bottom of the main street and she got into my car.
“She told me to drive to a specific location. Her phone went and it was her police friends asking where she was.
“Turned out they were heading to her house for more drinks and they had got a squad car to pick them up and take them there!
“Next thing I knew she made a move for my crotch and I nearly crashed the car.
“I pulled into a laneway and that was the first time we had sex.”
Afterwards the police officer bombarded the man with texts, according to him.
“Some of the messages were sexually explicit, let’s just say,” he explained.
She then set up more meetings. The other time they had sex was in her private car.
But he says she always brought her gun when she was meeting him.
“She always brought her gun and set it between her legs or put it in the glove compartment.”
When the PSNI found out about the relationship they sent round a squad of riot cops in ski masks to raid the man’s house.
They forcibly knocked down the door and searched the place, taking lap-tops, phones and any sim cards they found.
He was arrested while the cop was taken to Antrim serious crime suite at the same time to be questioned.
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