Lies led to arrest

Kristopher Sutcliffe

Kristopher Sutcliffe

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A BLACKPOOL company boss who concocted lies to police, claiming a former employee had vandalised his car, has been jailed for 29 months.

Kristofer Sutcliffe paid another man £100 to give a false witness statement by wrongly saying he had seen damage take place.

As a result of their actions, an innocent man called Kyle Smith was arrested, kept in custody, charged and placed on bail to await trial.

Sutcliffe, 25, of Park Road, Blackpool and Thomas McGurk, 44, of Grasmere Road, Blackpool, had both admitted an offence of perverting the course of justice. The second defendant was given 14 months jail.

Judge Heather Lloyd told the pair: “What you did in relation to Kyle Smith strikes at the very heart of the criminal justice system. This system of justice depends on the integrity of those who make complaints. It also depends on proper procedures being followed”.

Sutcliffe has a business selling gas and electrical contracts via telesales.

Fraser Livesey, prosecuting, said it was claimed Sutcliffe had been aggressive to a number of staff.

It appeared Mr Smith had been followed by the defendant when he went to the toilet.

Sutcliffe threatened to dock money from his wages. This happened twice.

Mr Smith decided to leave. He sought to collect unpaid wages and arguments broke out. Upset by that, Mr Smith appeared to send messages via Facebook. Then three to four weeks later he got a phone call from the police to speak to him about damage to Sutcliffe’s car.

Initially, Mr Smith thought it was a joke. He said in a statement “I was in tears when arrested. I was so upset and angry.”

He was kept in custody before being released on bail. The case ended up listed for a trial in November.

The court heard that, in a statement to police, Sutcliffe claimed to have seen Mr Smith kicking at his vehicle. He also alleged the man had had a metal object up his sleeve.

Sutcliffe even said he didn’t feel safe. He approached McGurk, even showing him photos so that he would be able to pick out Mr Smith on the ID procedure.

The second defendant, who claimed he didn’t know Sutcliffe and had just happened to see the incident taking place, later came forward after he was given a court warning to attend the trial.

It was then the true picture emerged.

Virginia Hayton, for Sutcliffe, said the defendant’s car had been damaged.

“There had been ongoing problems with disgruntled ex employees.

Mr Smith was creating most of the problems.

“He accepts he didn’t see damage being caused. He gave a name to the police and accepts lying to the police.”