Secret recording catches Lowestoft police officer David Phelps allegedly coaching suspect, court hears

Police officer David Phelps at Norwich Crown Court for perverting the course of justice. Picture: DE

Police officer David Phelps at Norwich Crown Court for perverting the course of justice. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Archant

A father secretly recorded a conversation in which his son was coached by a police officer to explain how DNA was found on drugs seized his home, a court has heard.

David Phelps, a detective constable with Suffolk Constabulary based in Lowestoft, was standing trial at Norwich Crown Court today charged with intending to pervert the course of justice. He has denied the offence.

David Phelps, 42, a detective constable with Suffolk Constabulary based in Lowestoft, was standing trial at Norwich Crown Court yesterday charged with intending to pervert the course of justice. He has denied the offence.

Prosecuting, Stephen Mather said Phelps was caught suggesting to a man he had arrested how he could explain the presence of another person's DNA on controlled drugs and account for money seized by police.

Mr Mather told the jury Phelps had previously arrested the man, Bradley Tanner, at an address in Leiston on March 9, 2016 in connection with a burglary that January.

He said when Phelps, of Fleetdyke Drive, Lowestoft, and fellow officers were at the house, they also found drugs and about £230 in cash. Michael Wingrove was also at the property during the search.

Mr Mather said Wingrove's DNA was later found on some of the drugs and Tanner was taken into custody and questioned by Phelps and another officer under caution, before being released on bail.

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He added that on April 8 Phelps went alone to visit Mr Tanner at the house of his father Steven Tanner, where he was staying.

In a witness statement read out in court, Steven Tanner said he was at the house at the time but decided to leave to allow the two to talk. He added that before he left he put a dictaphone on the dining room table.

The jury was played part of the recording, in which Phelps could be heard suggesting to Mr Tanner that he should admit the drugs found at his house were his. He also appeared to be coming up with theories that Mr Tanner could use as to how Wingrove's DNA got on the drugs.

Mr Tanner's father later gave this recording to the police and Phelps was arrested on May 12.

Investigating officer, DC Alex Scott, said Mr Tanner had 'felt intimidated' by Phelps' ideas and said: 'He's supposed to be a man of the law'.

In a police interview Phelps denied making the suggestions. He said: 'I never made any promises and there was no deal. That's why I told him to speak to his lawyer.' The trial continues.

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