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7 shocking criminal police officers

PC Martin Forshaw
PC Martin Forshaaw murdered policewoman fiancee Claire Howarth | Image: 'Cops Gone Bad With Will Mellor'

Presented by Will Mellor, Cops Gone Bad covers seven new cases to expose murderers, fraudsters, swindlers, sexual predators and drug dealers within the police force. The show airs Mondays at 9pm on Crime + Investigation and is available to stream on Crime + Investigation Play.

From bent coppers motivated by simple greed to out-and-out murderers, meet the police officers who betrayed their badges and committed crimes against those they were supposed to protect.

1. David Carrick

In October 2021, just days after PC Wayne Couzens was given a whole life order for the murder of Sarah Everard, another officer from the very same unit – Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection – was charged with rape.

This officer, David Carrick, was soon revealed to be a prolific sex offender who brazenly weaponised his status as a police officer to degrade, dominate and assault numerous women. At least one victim was raped with a police firearm to her head, and some were restrained with police handcuffs.

It transpired that complaints had been made about the man nicknamed ‘Bastard Dave’, but nothing had been done to stop him. The serial sex offender who hid behind his badge for so long was handed a minimum of 30 years for his crimes.

2. Kashif Mahmood

Jailed in May 2021, the audacious extent of Metropolitan Police officer Kashif Mahmood’s corruption wouldn’t be out of place in Line of Duty. Working in cahoots with an underworld gang which had roots in Dubai, Mahmood would be tipped off about trades being done by criminal couriers, then turn up and confiscate the money while appearing to be just a regular police officer doing his duty.

Instead, he was – in the words of the judge – ‘abusing his position of power, trust and responsibility’ to rip off hundreds of thousands of pounds on behalf of his criminal accomplices.

The capture and imprisonment of Mahmood, who was sentenced to eight years, was a tragic fall for a seemingly upstanding man who’d resisted the lure of criminal gangs as a teenager and followed his dream of being a cop.

3. Martin Forshaw

When PC Martin Forshaw of Cheshire Constabulary was jailed for at least 18 years in 2009 for the murder of his girlfriend Claire Howarth, it was the culmination of a case as inexplicable as it was shocking. Seemingly happily engaged, the couple were just days away from flying out to their wedding in St Lucia when Forshaw bludgeoned Claire to death with a hammer at their home.

He placed her body in a car which he drove into a hedge – a botched attempt to make it look like a car accident. The lack of damage and the fact that the airbags hadn’t been deployed were just some of the giveaways that led to Forshaw’s arrest.

4. Rodney Whitchelo

The case of Rodney Whitchelo has fallen into obscurity, which is surprising given the outrageous and horrific nature of his extortion campaign targeting food companies. In the late 1980s, the Met police officer bought jars of baby food and pet food, spiked them with poison and broken razor blades, returned them to shelves and demanded money in return for information on what he’d done.

Five babies were hospitalised, with one jar of cauliflower baby food being found to contain enough poison to kill 27 children. Although Whitchelo was caught and sentenced to 17 years, he was released after serving just nine, much to the fury of the public.

5. Michael Coulton

Before his startling trial in 1998, Michael Coulton had been a respected police officer trusted to perform protection duties at Buckingham Palace.

But then came the revelation that the married officer had been leading a squalid double life, bringing sex workers back to the marital home when his wife Patricia was at work, spinning stories of being a secret agent, stalking a female neighbour, and even telling one lover that he wanted to murder Patricia.

His plan came to fruition when he used a remote-controlled device to disable Patricia’s car and stabbed her to death in the driver’s seat. It was supposedly his desire for insurance money that led to what the judge, jailing him for life, called ‘a long-planned, callous and utterly cold-hearted killing’.

6. Mark Standen

Mark Standen was more than just a cop – he was a senior figure in the New South Wales Crime Commission, who oversaw multi-million-dollar drug busts. He also utilised his knowledge and connections, including a criminal informant, to plan a major drug smuggling operation, involving 300kg of pseudoephedrine, used in the manufacture of crystal meth.

It was a spectacular conspiracy which involved a Dutch drug cartel and sent shockwaves through the law enforcement community. In 2011, the disgraced detective was sent down for 22 years, with no parole permitted for at least 16.

7. Drew Peterson

A cocky police officer from Bolingbrook, Illinois, Drew Peterson thought he’d got away with the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

Her death was ruled an accidental drowning after her body was found in a bathtub in 2004. However, three years later the mysterious disappearance of Peterson’s next wife, Stacy Ann, prompted authorities to exhume Kathleen’s body and carry out a new forensic examination.

This found that she had in fact been deliberately drowned and Peterson was sentenced to 38 years for her murder in 2012. Though a lack of evidence meant he wasn’t convicted of Stacy Ann’s murder, there was an unlikely postscript to the case when Peterson was handed another 40 years for trying to hire a hitman to kill the lead prosecutor in his murder trial.

Cops Gone Bad is available to stream on Crime + Investigation Play.