Police chief’s jail term reduced

Paul Fletcher Snr
Paul Fletcher Snr
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A CORRUPT ex-St Helens bobby jailed over a plan to deal illegal steroids has had his sentence slashed.

But another disgraced colleague, who was part of the same deal, failed to win a reduction to his jail sentence at the same appeal hearing.

Former police sergeant Paul Hornby, 43, was jailed for three years and nine months after admitting possessing Class C drugs with intent to supply.

Paul David Fletcher, 47, another officer who had supplied the steroids, got seven-and-a-half years for six counts of being concerned in Class C drug supply and three of misconduct in public office.

Although Fletcher’s sentence was upheld, Hornby’s was cut to three years by senior judges sitting at London’s Court of Appeal.

Hornby, of Bembridge Court, Winstanley, was not as deep in the drugs world as Fletcher, having been in on only one transaction, Lord Justice Pitchford said.

The court heard Hornby had asked Fletcher, a constable from Downall Green Road, Ashton, to supply him with illegal steroids and human growth hormones.

In February 2011, through an accomplice, the constable supplied more than £800 worth of the drugs, which can have harmful, unintended effects on users.

Hornby had intended to supply the body-building drugs to another officer based in the Liverpool area, but was caught before he could do so.

Fletcher was caught out when an undercover officer going by the name of “Neil” was sold drugs on several occasions, with a total value of about £3,000.

Fletcher was also in trouble for a string of misconduct offences, arising out of his involvement with characters from the criminal underworld.

He gave advice to a firearms suspect on how he would be monitored and used the police computer system to get information on a case for a known criminal.

At the Court of Appeal, lawyers for Hornby argued that his term had had a terrible effect on his family, leaving them in financial trouble, and lawyers for Fletcher said their client’s sentence was simply too long.

Lord Justice Pitchford, sitting with Mr Justice Lloyd Jones and Judge William Davis QC, cut Hornby’s sentence to three years.

He said: “He (Hornby) was involved only in one supply with the intention of onward supply to a single customer.

“It may have been that, given the opportunity, the appellant would have become more deeply involved, but he was charged only with one offence.”

Rejecting Fletcher’s appeal, he added: “This was a policeman who had become thoroughly corrupted. He not only dealt in controlled drugs, he loaned himself and his office to the ranks of criminals.”