Hampshire murder detective denies he forged witness’s signature
A murder inquiry detective has told a court he failed to follow correct procedure by letting a witness sign blank pages of their statement but denied forging any of the signatures.
Det Con Robert Ferrow, 50, took the statement on the day Lucy-Anne Rushton was killed at her home in Andover, Hampshire, in 2019.
He told jurors he regretted allowing the witness to sign blank pages.
The detective denies the forgery charge at his trial at Winchester Crown Court.
Ms Rushton, 30, was killed by her estranged husband Shaun Dyson in the early hours of 23 June 2019.
He then absconded from police and was found several hours later hiding in a cupboard at the murder scene.
The court heard the witness, Ashley Grace-O’Neill, gave a police statement shortly after his friend, Dyson, was arrested.
Giving evidence, Det Con Ferrow said after an hour the witness asked if he could sign blank pages on the document and go home.
The officer said: “It’s not procedurally correct… He was tired and stressed.
“I am aware that it was a breach of process… In hindsight I should never have done it.
“I did that because it was a time-critical investigation.”
Det Con Ferrow said he gave Mr Grace-O’Neill a “batch” of blank pages but did not recall how many.
The officer added: “He signed all those blank statement forms. I didn’t sign any.”
A forensic handwriting expert concluded that signatures on seven pages of the 23-page document were likely to have been forged, the court previously heard.
Robert Bryan, prosecuting, suggested the detective did it because he ran out of signed blank sheets when he was completing the statement alone.
Det Con Ferrow insisted there were two left over when the work was finished.
Mr Grace-O’Neill previously told the court the pages in question, copies of text conversations with Dyson, were accurately transcribed.
In December 2019, Dyson was jailed for life with a minimum of 17 years after pleading guilty to the murder.
The trial continues.