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Chief Superintendent cleared of drunkenly assaulting wife

Northumbria Police’s Karl Wilson was cleared by District Judge Paul Currer yesterday.

A Chief Superintendent has been cleared of drunkenly assaulting his wife at the family home in Newcastle last October.

Ch Supt Karl Wilson, 49, had faced two charges of assault and one charge of causing criminal damage to her dress, necklace and phone but that was reduced to a single offence of assault which had allegedly been witnessed by two other officers.

He remains suspended from the force and misconduct proceedings are being progressed. 

The couple had argued about “embarrassing” messages she found on his phone.

The prosecution said his wife had attended court but did not wish to give evidence and they would not compel her to do so, and an allegation that he rugby tackled her to the ground and knelt on her chest, as well as the criminal damage charge, was dismissed.

District Judge Currer cleared the senior officer, saying he was satisfied Mr Wilson had struggled with his wife to grab his phone following a short “melee” at the bottom of the stairs while he was being taken away.

He said: “I don’t think he took hold of her at all and for that reason this case is not proven.”

Body-worn footage showed police at the home of Mr Wilson as the family dog wandered around.

He told the court he was drunk, having consumed three large glasses of wine, but he could recall what happened that night.

He said: “We had an argument regarding messages on that phone which were highly embarrassing, quite upsetting for Helen, something I’m certainly not proud of, (so) that I wanted to get my phone.”

Footage showed Mr Wilson being led towards his front door, not in handcuffs, and him try to grab his phone when his wife dropped it on the stairs.

During a struggle in which Mrs Wilson also tried to get the phone, PC Craig Brown restrained the senior officer and the video showed him yelling “don’t grab her” twice.

Mrs Wilson was heard to say: “That’s mine, thank you” which the district judge said was her taking possession of her husband’s phone, before she walked upstairs with it.

The Chief Superintendent was then handcuffed and taken in for questioning.

PC Brown and his colleague PC Nathan Collins told the court that they had seen Mr Wilson get hold of his wife’s wrist – which was the substance of the assault allegation.

But Mr Wilson told the court he had not intended to grab her and was merely trying to get his phone.

Michael Bunch, prosecuting, claimed it was a “desperate” attempt to grab the handset from his wife, but Mr Wilson disagreed.

Previously, the court heard Mrs Wilson had said she had been assaulted outside her home earlier that night and had rung 999, during which she said “domestic” in a hoarse voice, when asked by the call-handler what was happening.

But the prosecution offered no evidence about that allegation and Mr Wilson was cleared.

Detective Superintendent Steve Ammari, Head of the Professional Standards Department at Northumbria Police, said: “We are aware of the case involving an officer heard at court yesterday (Monday) which saw two charges discontinued and them being found not guilty of a third.

“As soon as concerns were raised in relation to this individual we began an investigation and they were subsequently suspended from duty."

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