“I’m a copper ... I will do what I like” shouted drunken murder squad detective during attack

editorial image

A murder squad detective’s career is in ruins after being convicted of a drunken and unprovoked attack in a pub while shouting: “I’m a copper. I will do what I like.”

Det Sgt Paul Whiteley, 51, was found guilty of assaulting a fellow customer at the Fylingdales Inn, near Whitby in May last year.

But his then girlfriend Claire Hughes, 43, was cleared of assaulting a female customer.

A two-day trial at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court heard how the couple had shared two-and-a-half bottles of wine before heading for the car park.

They were challenged by holidaymaker Carl Sarsfield who thought they were going to drive after they had been drinking.

Back inside the pub, Whiteley tore off his shirt and assaulted Mr Sarsfield, while Miss Hughes was accused of attacking Mr Sarsfield’s girlfriend Paula Crossley.

Mr Sarsfield said Whiteley had slapped him in the face and was “absolutely legless”.

The trial heard Whiteley, an officer with West Yorks Homicide and Major Enquiry Team (HMET), also hurled abuse at Miss Crossley’s 19-year-old autistic daughter Mia.

‎Whiteley, of Grange Moor, denied assault. He said he hadn’t ripped his shirt off or slapped the man in the face.

He said he had taken his shirt off because he had been sweating, intending to walk home in just a coat and jumper.

He also claimed Mr Sarsfield had struck the first blow “for no reason,” adding: “I saw it coming and stuck out my arm to deflect the punch.”

But Whiteley was convicted. Miss Hughes, of Fulford Place, York, denied all claims that she had attacked Miss Crossley. She was acquitted.

Mark Kelly, mitigating for Whiteley, said: “Clearly, this has enormous implications. He is going to lose his job as a result of this.”

The court heard Whiteley has been a serving officer for more than 22 years, seven of them with HMET.

Whiteley was fined £550. He must also pay £850 costs and a £55 surcharge. He intends to appeal his conviction.