Thanet policeman found guilty of lying about being victim of gang attack in Ramsgate church yard

Emergency services were called to respond to the 'attack' Photo Emma Owen

A Thanet police officer has been found guilty of making up a report that he had been attacked in a Ramsgate church yard.

Michael Tovell, 46, reported being set upon by a gang of four men with baseball bats whilst carrying out enquiries to find a missing person in St Lawrence Chase, Ramsgate, on February 2, 2018.

Tovell, of Margate Road, Ramsgate, activated his personal emergency alarm shortly after 9.30pm and was heard over the police radio to shout; ‘Get back’ and; ‘I’m Taser trained. Put it down.’

Two of Tovell’s colleagues were attending a nearby shop when his emergency alarm was activated and arrived on the scene within an estimated 30 seconds. They carried out an immediate search of the area but the group of men who he claimed had attacked him were never found.

An ambulance crew was called to the scene after Tovell described being attacked with baseball bats and wooden planks. At hospital he was found to have suffered no apparent injuries and was discharged within a few hours.

During the subsequent investigations to identify Tovell’s attackers, question marks began to surface around the legitimacy of his account.

A significant number of house-to-house enquiries were carried out, two witness appeals were issued and an examination of the local CCTV – which had comprehensive coverage of the area – took place.

Crucially, no one matching Tovell’s description of four heavily-built men were found on the extensive CCTV to leave the area and witnesses who came forward described the church yard and surrounding roads as typically quiet at the time of the assault.

Further inconsistencies such as a lack of audio capturing the attack on Tovell’s emergency radio recording and four unaccounted for minutes between Tovell leaving colleagues to enter the church yard alone and the activation of his alarm were uncovered.

After he was suspended and arrested in March 2018, the matters were put to Tovell in interview but he was unable to provide any reasonable explanations.

Today (June 12), a jury at Canterbury Crown Court found him guilty of perverting the course of justice. A date for his sentencing has not yet been set. Psychiatric reports will be completed first.

Assistant Chief Constable Tim Smith of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: “A significant amount of time and resources went into investigating what was, on the surface, a report of a very serious assault on a police officer.

“But as our enquiries delved deeper into the account given by Tovell, it became clear this report was fabricated and our attentions turned to him. We’re pleased the court has recognised the severity of his actions.

“Tovell’s decision to make up being attacked by a group of men not only has a profound impact on the public and its confidence in policing, but also on his colleagues, some of whom have been assaulted while on duty.”

Once court proceedings have concluded, Kent Police will begin a misconduct process.

 

7 Comments

  1. I hope this man is fired, banned from the police force permanently as well as holding any other public office job. The fact he lied about something which could have potentially led to the arrest of an innocent person/s is unacceptable behaviour. This man cannot be trusted. I hope this is a one off but it does call into question his past reports, arrests and behaviour. This is just another reason that the public has no faith in the police and only widens the divide that has been present for my entire life and likely many decades before that.

    • I don’t think the public has no faith in the police. The public is very concerned about cuts in the police force, police stations reducing their opening hours, fewer police in our streets. If the public despised and distrusted the police, they wouldn’t be so concerned by their absence.

  2. Let’s hope he’s sacked rather than given the opportunity to resign and he loses his pension. He must be made an example of. What if innocent people had been arrested and questioned because of his lies?

  3. A very poor example of a Police Officer….I have no doubt that he will be dismissed..
    His mental state at the time is being assessed for the Court..
    There has been no coverup , this is far from typical police behaviour..
    His colleagues are let down, and a lot of time has been wasted on the initial search for offenders, and the subsequent investigation into the now proven false claims ..
    As to why anyone would make up such a tale is beyond reason …
    Is sad to think that this debacle could lead citizens to trust the Police less..
    It’s very uncommon for such a person to survive the selection procedures ..
    We have to have trust in our Protection Services.. That is why the case has gone to Court after a very thorough investigation…
    Although it leaves a sour taste….it’s certainly not the normal conduct that Kent Police provide.

    • I agree that this isn’t normal Kent Police behaviour, however I see time and time again comments about petty criminals, and how they should get super long sentences and punishments. I feel it is only fair that the Police are held to the same standards and expectations.

      I have a lot of experience seeing Kent Police wasting tens of thousands of pounds, and god knows how many police hours, arresting addicts who are right at the bottom of the drug networks. This does nothing but alienate the most vulnerable in our society. This is a complex issue overall, I just want to bring awareness and get people to reasonably question all crime, all police behaviour and all court cases/sentences.

      I am very passionate about using my intelligence and ability to give those who often have no voice representation. I am always open to having a debate and discussing issues in a mature way. I want to say to my children that I gave it my all, to making a difference in the country I love so much.

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