Peterborough ‘spy cop’ maintains innocence after Met Police says animal rights activist has ‘credible’ evidence of sexual relationship

A ‘spy cop’ currently serving as a councillor in Peterborough has maintained his innocence after the Met Police said evidence provided by an animal rights activist was “credible”.

Wednesday, 26th February 2020, 5:20 am
Andy Coles
Andy Coles

Andy Coles, a Conservative city councillor, would have faced a gross misconduct hearing if he had not retired from the force in 2013, the Met has reportedly said.

However, the Met stated he had not been found guilty of the offence, according to a report in The Guardian.

Mr Coles, who represents Fletton and Woodston ward, has strenuously denied allegations made against him by a woman known as ‘Jessica’ who claims she was deceived into having a relationship with the undercover officer when she was 19, in the early 1990s.

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No action has been taken against the councillor after he was twice referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission and he has never been charged with an offence.

However, according to The Guardian the Met told Jessica in a letter that a complaint she filed had been upheld, adding: “In all of the circumstances, it is credible that Coles met you during his deployment and… a relationship developed.”

The Met did not respond to a request for a comment from the Peterborough Telegraph as the contents of the letter were sent privately.

Reacting to the news, which has also been covered by the BBC, Mr Coles said: “Much has been reported in the news today about the allegations made against me by a person known as Jessica some 30 years ago when I was deployed as an undercover officer against animal rights extremists who used violence for political ends against law-abiding members of our society.

“I deny the accusations made completely. I denied them when they were first made, I deny them now.

“It is right that when allegations are made against a police officer they should be investigated thoroughly and they have been. The Metropolitan Police has taken no further action against me and no court or tribunal has made any finding against me.

“I will provide evidence about my deployment in the fullness of time at the Undercover Policing Inquiry which is the proper place for the issues to be aired.”

The inquiry, which was set up in 2015 to get to the truth about undercover policing across England and Wales since 1968, is expected to start hearing evidence in June.

Mr Coles was Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough but resigned in May 2017 after the allegations against him were first raised.

He claimed at the time that the coverage was “significantly impacting” on his ability to carry out the role.

His tenure as a councillor comes to an end in May, meaning he will need to seek re-election to keep hold of his seat. The Conservatives have yet to release their list of candidates for the local elections.

Several council meetings in Peterborough have been disrupted by protests against Mr Coles, with one even being postponed.

According to The Guardian, Jessica is also taking legal action against the Met which New Scotland Yard recently told her it was no longer contesting and would discuss compensation.

Mr Coles’ past as an undercover officer was inadvertently revealed by his brother, the broadcaster and former pop star Reverend Richard Coles, in his 2014 autobiography.

Jessica told the BBC: “I have problems sleeping and some pretty awful nightmares. I’ve lost friends and people that are close over this.

“If I’d had have known who he really was he wouldn’t have got through the front door.”

City council leader Cllr John Holdich declined to comment on today’s story when contacted by the PT.

Timeline

Allegations were first made against Andy Coles to the Met by Jessica in May 2017. She claimed she had had a long term sexual relationship with Mr Coles, who had gone by the name of Andy Davey.

The matter was referred to what was then the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) which determined that a local investigation should be carried out. Operation Herne conducted this investigation.

In October 2017, the former officer voluntary attended an interview under caution. In March 2018, it was confirmed that no further action would be taken.

Jessica then made a related criminal allegation and the matter was re-investigated.

Operation Herne started this investigation, but it was subsequently taken on and progressed by the Met’s Inquiry and Review Support Command (IRSC) Investigation Team.

In December 2018, the former officer was interviewed under caution for a second time.

The matter was referred to the Crown Prosecution Service which in April 2019 advised the Met there was no realistic prospect of a conviction for the offences alleged.

The IRSC subsequently concluded its criminal investigation with the Met saying the Undercover Policing Inquiry has been informed of the outcome.

The inquiry is due to begin hearing evidence in June.