A JUDGE threw out character references on a former police officer who lied about her daughter having cancer so she could have time off work.
Rachel Hewitt, 39, of Ash Grove, South Elmsall, was due to be sentenced at Hull Crown Court today (Wednesday) after earlier pleading guilty to fraud and misconduct in a public office.
But Judge Simon Jack said he wanted police to investigate the character references she supplied to court and comments she made to the author of a pre-sentence report.
Judge Jack told Hewitt’s barrister: “I have read a number of character references. It is right to say that the picture it paints is completely at odds with the offences. Since your client is a convincing and practiced liar, I find them difficult to take on face value.”
The judge said that if it transpired the references were not genuine, a possible charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice could be brought against her.
Hewitt’s barrister Heidi Cotton said her client maintained they were genuine. The judge said he also wanted her pre -sentence report checked as there maybe statements relating to events in her past which may be untrue.
Mother-of-two Rachel Hewitt falsely obtained money from fellow employees at North Yorkshire Police and the neighbouring West Yorkshire force between 2009 and 2011, telling them her daughter Natasha, 15, was undergoing chemotherapy after having tumors removed.
Hewitt admitted that while being a public officer she wilfully misconducted herself to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public’s trust without reasonable excuse or justification at an earlier hearing.
The charge said she repeatedly claimed her daughter Natasha was ill with a form of cancer, had had a tumour surgically removed and required chemotherapy necessitating Rachel Hewitt’s absence from work. The charge related to her employment between January 1, 2009, and October 10 2011.
She also pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud between the same dates by dishonestly and intending to make a gain for herself by making a false representation to employees of the North Yorkshire Police Authority which she knew was untrue or misleading. She told them her daughter Natasha was suffering from a form of cancer in breach of section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006.
Crown barrister Simon Batiste said he wanted copies of her references so he could instruct the CPS to make the relevant checks with the police.
PC Hewitt was on a career break from the force when she was arrested last year. A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police refused to comment on the case other than to say she resigned from her role as a police officer in October 2012.
Hewitt was granted bail while the latest police investigations are carried out and told she will be sentenced at Hull Crown Court on July 6.