PC Michelle Denne, 44, (pictured) used the police database to obtain data
A serving police officer has pleaded guilty to using her force’s computers to access information about her partner’s ex-wife and the woman’s three children.
PC Michelle Denne, 44, used the police database to obtain data and also broke protocol by accessing information on her neighbours and ex-husband over an eight-year period. relating to her then-boyfriend’s former partner.
The mum-of-three, who has more than 20 years’ experience in policing, was finally caught after Staffordshire Police’s anti-corruption unit found six breaches between 2009 and March 2017.
The officer, who is based at Cannock Police Station, was suspended from duty in the wake of the allegations.
Today at Birmingham Magistrates Court, a tearful Denne admitted six counts of offences under the Computer Misuse Act.
Denne, of Stafford, was granted bail and will be sentenced at the same court on April 23.
Adjourning the hearing until then, Chair of the Bench Ms Roberts said: ‘As you’ve heard, this case is being put back until April 23 while we wait for a report from probation before deciding sentence.
‘In the meantime you will be granted unconditional bail. The only condition is that you are back here on April 23.’
Sam Watts, prosecuting, said the defendant accessed the computers to look up details on the woman, named only as Mrs Fincher.
Today at Birmingham Magistrates Court (pictured), a tearful Denne admitted six counts of offences under the Computer Misuse Act
Denne, who has three teenage children, also looked up details on a neighbour who had parked on her driveway.
Mr Watts said: ‘The defendant in this case is a serving police officer of some years experience.
‘There are occasions in which she has accessed police client and intelligence systems, which record data held by the police in relation to certain individuals.
‘This was done while she was a serving police officer and was done on police computers.
‘By way of background to the offences, the defendant had started a relationship with a Mr Fisher.
‘She had a strained relationship with his ex-wife, Mrs Fincher, and on occasion she accessed data in relation to her, her family and her three children.’
The court how, on April 4, 2009 and February 2, 2010, she also accessed information in relation to some of her neighbours.
She also looked up information about a sex offender who lived on her street on December 12, 2010.
The officer, who is based at Cannock Police Station (pictured), was suspended from duty in the wake of the allegations
On June 28, 2015, she got hold of a file on someone who had parked on her driveway, and weeks later – on September 6 2015 – she looked into her ex-husband.
During the last offence, on March 17 last year, she tried to illegally get hold of data on the Fisher family.
Mr Watts said: ‘On each occasion, she was looking at specific events and specific people.
‘The Crown submits that these were deliberate attempts, and that she was looking for certain people and certain data on them.’
Colin Banham, defending, said his client had not extensively used the computers and had only done so to ‘protect her children’.
‘Upon interview, the defendant admitted her part in these offences in full,’ he said.
‘In fact, she has done so on two occasions – firstly, when she was first interviewed, and secondly, after a more lengthy investigation into her.
‘This is not an extensive use of computer systems at random. This is very much someone who, on rare occasions, accessed data in order to secure her own personal life and to protect her children.
‘She’s been in tears today, upon arriving in this court as a defendant. She is a broken woman.
‘She did not profit in any way from these breaches, and did not distribute information to third parties. The offences were done simply to safeguard her and her children.
‘Although she is a lady appears before you this morning softly spoken, I can assure you that she is devastated.
‘She is a single mother, who is going through a lengthy divorce. She has had a number of personal setbacks.
‘Obviously that includes appearing before this court, but extends to her separating from her husband.
‘Recently, she has had a major operation which the recovery time is something between 12 and 13 weeks.
‘She is on medication to treat her menopause, and to deal with stress and depression.
‘The father of her children six weeks ago has said that he does not want any contact with the children any more.
‘This is particularly troubling given that in the intervening weeks, her 15-year-old daughter has been referred to the paediatric oncology department after discovering a lump on her breast – and there is a history of breast cancer in the family.’