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PC ‘destroyed mobile phone evidence when arrested for harassing ex’

  • PC Stephen Smith was arrested on suspicion of harassing estranged wife
  • Accused of remotely wiping phone and iPad to stop police seeing evidence
  • Allegedly bought phone to send fake texts in attempt to absolve himself
  • Smith, who is on trial, denies two charges of perverting course of justice

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PC 'destroyed Mobile Phone Evidence When Arrested For Harassing Ex'

PC Stephen Smith, 32, (pictured) of Tredegar, Blaenau Gwent in South Wales, was arrested after his estranged wife PC Catherine Louise Taylor, 31, complained she was being harassed

A married PC who discovered his police officer wife was having an affair with a colleague allegedly destroyed mobile phone evidence when he was arrested on suspicion of harassing her. PC Stephen Smith, 32, of Tredegar, Blaenau Gwent in South Wales, was arrested after his estranged wife PC Catherine Louise Taylor, 31, complained she was being harassed. But a court has heard Smith, an officer for South Wales Police, is now accused of deliberately wiping evidence from his iPhone and iPad shortly after it was seized by police investigating the claims.

Smith then allegedly bought himself a pay-as-you go mobile phone and sent text messages to his new iPhone while pretending to be someone else in an attempt to absolve himself. In the texts he allegedly claimed the unknown person was the one responsible for wiping the devices held by police. The court was told the two police officers split in January 2014 after five years of marriage.

Prosecutor Owen Williams said: ‘PC Taylor was involved in a relationship with her new partner Andrew Gibbons. All three are police officers.’

Three months after the bitter split Smith was accused of harassing his estranged wife. He was arrested and his Apple iPhone and iPad were confiscated before he was released on police bail in the early hours of April 1. But the court heard that shortly after his release both devices were remotely wiped clean, destroying any evidence which may have been on them.

Mr Williams said that it is claimed at 1.18am and then again 27 seconds later Smith used his Apple ID and credentials to wipe them clean and restored both devices to factory settings.

‘The remote wipes were initiated using Wifi internet connection at the defendant’s address where he was living with his parents,’ said Mr Williams. ‘Having been released from police custody the defendant returned to his home address.

PC 'destroyed Mobile Phone Evidence When Arrested For Harassing Ex'

The court was told the two police officers split in January 2014 after five years of marriage. Prosecutor Owen Williams said: ‘PC Taylor was involved in a relationship with her new partner Andrew Gibbons’ (both pictured)

‘Once there he used another device to connect to the internet and accessed a remote wipe facility.

‘Using Apple credentials he initiated the wipes knowing they had been seized in the allegation of harassment against him.

‘He did so in a deliberate manner to prevent anybody else from accessing that data.’

PC 'destroyed Mobile Phone Evidence When Arrested For Harassing Ex'

Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court heard Smith refused to give police officers the correct passwords and then blamed police incompetence for them being wiped

Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court heard Smith had refused to give police officers the correct passwords and then blamed police incompetence for them being wiped. Smith claimed he and his father had gone to a Tesco store before returning home, but the court heard the car was spotted on CCTV two miles from the family home 10 minutes before the devices were wiped. Smith has been charged with perverting the course of justice by wiping the devices clean, but he denies the allegations.

The court also heard he allegedly bought a pay-as-you-go mobile phone to ‘try to absolve himself of any blame’ and used it to send text messages to his replacement iPhone pretending to be someone else. Smith claimed he received two text messages from that phone to his iPhone and claimed the unknown person was responsible for wiping the devices held by police. The court heard that in the messages the mystery person apologised to Smith for wiping the iPad, said they were ‘too afraid’ to tell the police they were responsible and added that he was a ‘wonderful dad’ who ‘does not deserve’ to go to prison.

But the prosecution say the texts were bogus and were sent by Smith to himself to cover his tracks. Mr Williams said: ‘He purchased the pay as you go phone for the sole purpose of producing the text messages and sending them to his new iPhone.

‘It was not used for any other purpose.’

Smith denies two charges of perverting the course of justice. The trial continues.

PC 'destroyed Mobile Phone Evidence When Arrested For Harassing Ex'

PC Catherine Taylor 31, complained about being plagued by Smith over the marriage split. She is pictured with her new boyfriend, police officer Andrew Gibbons

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