Disgraced top cop Gez Chiariello faces a bleak Christmas after being sacked for gross misconduct.
But, as he reflects on an otherwise exemplary 23-year career with Thames Valley Police, he was reminded that he was the “master of his own downfall” and that he had “pressed his own self destruct button”.
TVP Chief Constable, Francis Habgood, told a special case hearing on Thursday that Supt Chiariello had worked hard particularly during his time at Milton Keynes
but that his fall from grace was down to a ‘chaotic and troubled’ private life.
He described Mr Chiariello as “being in a relationship that was love-hate but had become became hate-hate, and one that was played out in the public domain and eventually led to his dismissal.”
Mr Habgood said there could be no justification in not finding the two allegations of gross misconduct proven based on the overwhelming evidence and the fact that Mr Chiairello was already on a Final Written Warning for gross misconduct.
The hearing heard how he was “complicit in encouraging a ‘long-term and close friend’ to impersonate a Sun journalist and call his ex-lover’s new employer in a bid to discredt and make trouble for her”. The Citizen has previously revealed this ‘close friend’ is Milton Keynes Council’s tax licensing oficer Liz Hodkinson, who previously worked for Milton Keynes Police.
Mr Chiariello, 46, denied the charges but was told “his actions were deporlable, despicable and shameful and that he told lies, over and over again to cover up what he had done.”
Mr Habgood said Supt Chiariello’s actions were “not worthy of an acting police officer let alone someone of his rank and that his behaviour had discredited the police force and undermined the public’s confidence in it.”
See report of the hearing
Mr Chiairello’s legal team argued it would have been fairer to adjourn the hearing to be heard alongside other charges for misconduct due to be heard in April.
John Beggs, QC, said the evidence against Mr Chiairiello was not incontrovertible and that it would be robustly defended, in any subsequent hearing where witness statements could be challenged.
He described a lot of the texts, Whats App messages, and phone calls exchanged between Mr Chiairello and his ‘friend’ as just his client venting his anger and ‘emoting’.
He also said some of it was said in jest or was just ‘drivel’.
He said Mr Chiarello was ‘emoting’ in private in response to his ex lover allegedly telling him in 2015, after they split, ‘I will bring you down and ruin your career’
He said his client had conducted an erstwhile and distinguished career but that he had not always made the right judgements in his private life.
Mr Chiairello chose not give evidence but sat with his head bowed thoughout the proceedings, a sorry looking figure with his police career in tatters.
He looked a fallen, dejected individual.
He must be wondering this morning how he allowed the ‘wheels to come off’ his personal life and impact on his judgement and ultimately his professional career.
Following the hearing Deputy Chief Constable, John Campbell, said: “Supt Chiariello was dismissed without notice for gross misconduct following a special case hearing heard by Chief Constable, Francis Habgood.
“We expect the highest professional standards from all of our officers and today it was proven that Supt Chiariello had breached a number of these standards.”
The hearing found Mr Chiairello had breached the standards of professional behaviour in the following ways:
> Orders and Instructions by failing to abide by a Lawful Order.
> Honesty and Integrity by failing to act with the integrity expected and lying during the course of his interview.
> Discreditable Conduct by behaving in a manner likely to bring discredit on the police service and/or undermine public confidence in it.
Mr Chiairello’s ex lover, referred to as Miss A in the hearing is Lauren Henson, of Milton Keynes. Now happily settled in her new job, she said:”I am shocked and angry about what Gez did to me. I didn’t realise he would be capable of doing such a thing.”