May 21 2013 Latest news:
by Court Reporter
Monday, March 18, 2013
A diplomatic protection officer who bunked off duty to meet his lover – and took a photo of her dressed in nothing but his gun belt – was jailed for nine months today.
Ricci Giff, 38, a motorcycle officer with SO6, whose job included guarding Downing Street and anti-terrorism work, left his patrol area checking some of London’s most sensitive buildings three times to meet Melissa Ramsden, 37, in 2011.
The married father-of-two met up with Miss Ramsden in her flat in Fernhead Road, Queen’s Park, during his night shifts, and once at the Metropolitan Police’s training centre in Hendon, Southwark Crown Court heard.
Miss Ramsden, who worked for the Israeli government tourism office in the capital – part of Giff’s patrol route – committed suicide in December 2011.
He was not implicated in her death, the court heard, but photographs and text messages found by investigating officers on her phone revealed their relationship.
On one occasion his unattended police motorcycle was found outside her flat by officers who raised the alarm in case he was in danger, only to see him come out and ride off.
Giff, of Sandy, Bedfordshire, who has 15 years’ experience as a police officer, admitted three counts of misconduct in a public office at an earlier hearing.
He looked visibly shocked when Judge Anthony Pitts handed down a jail sentence.
Judge Pitts told him that what he got up to during their meetings was not important, but the fact that he was unable to respond if there had been an emergency was.
The court heard Giff left his radio on while he was with Miss Ramsden, but the judge said: “It probably in fact made it quite difficult for you to respond quickly if you were in the middle of making love to her during these periods.”
Miss Ramsden, who had a history of depression, was found dead at her flat on December 22, days after their last meeting, having overdosed on tablets.
The 37-year-old was facing redundancy from her job as a PR manager and had previously suffered from bulimia and addictions to alcohol, cannabis, and crack cocaine.
She sent him a text message the day before, thanking him for “being loving”. Their relationship was not the cause of her suicide, the court heard.
Officers found photos on her mobile phone – including one in which she was naked apart from Giff’s uniform utility belt, containing his firearm and Taser stun gun.
The court heard that at the time of the affair Giff was going through a “baby blues” period with his second wife.
Richard Atchley, representing Giff, said he apologised for his actions and said his career was over because of his “foolhardy” actions.
Giff remains a police officer pending disciplinary proceedings, he said, which will see him sacked.