Cleared housing director vows to take drugs case to police watchdog
Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities
Cleared housing boss vows to take drugs case to police watchdog
A former housing director who along with her husband was cleared of conspiracy to supply class A drugs is taking the case to the police watchdog after being “absolutely torn to shreds” by the investigation.
Susan Thompson – who is now unemployed after the adverse publicity meant she lost her job – was a former operations director at Middlesbrough-based Fabrick Housing Group, the parent company for Erimus and Tees Valley Housing, which oversees Middlesbrough’s 15,000-strong social housing stock.
She was charged alongside four others - including her husband ex-policeman Paul Clive Thompson - with 'conspiracy to supply a controlled drug' earlier this year.
However, the pair (pictured) were cleared of supplying cocaine and believe the subsequent police investigation - which tried to prove Mr Thompson was part of a drugs gang - was out of proportion.
Mrs Thompson’s husband was charged with possession of cocaine for personal use which he said he turned to, to help him with depression from work pressures and his mother's sudden death.
However, he told the BBC’s Inside Out programme that he didn't deserve to be portrayed as the head of an organised crime group.
"I started using cocaine," he said. "It was a huge mistake. I deserved to have been arrested. What I didn't deserve is to be portrayed as the head of an organised crime group flooding the North East with cocaine."
The couple are now taking the case to the police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
Mrs Thompson said there were many inaccuracies in the prosecution’s case and “you could tell it was designed to shock”.
She said text messages from the pair had been selectively picked and handed incomplete to the authorities, which were then used against them.
She said: “We just kept thinking that if this is their evidence they cannot be serious. We did have faith that if that’s what their evidence was, then it was just ridiculous."
An emotional Mrs Thompson said: “I heard Paul’s name being read out and the verdict of not guilty. I couldn’t believe it and sure enough he’s with me, we’re all hugging, and all I can say is ‘we’ve done it, we’ve beaten them.”
She added: "I've been absolutely torn to shreds. My reputation has been damaged hopefully not beyond repair. You're not innocent until proven guilty - you're guilty until you can prove your innocence and it's not fair."
A spokeswoman for Fabrick – Mrs Thompson’s former employer - said “Susie left the group by mutual agreement”.
In a statement supplied to the BBC, Northumbria Police said: "The public rightly expects the highest possible standards. Where we suspect those standards fall below the required level, we will take action."
In relation to the drugs investigation, they said Paul Thompson was a serving police officer who was convicted of possessing a Class A drug - which they described as entirely inappropriate in his job.