“I don’t think the police made a sufficient effort to attempt and trace this cousin, if there even is a cousin.”
Yes, but not to have taken this man at his word would have been “Islamophobic.”
“Taxi driver accused of grooming girl won’t face action after blaming cousin who was never found,” by Ian Johnson, Gazette Live, January 18, 2018:
A grooming probe against a taxi driver was dropped by police after he blamed his cousin – even though the relative may not even exist.
The married man was investigated for allegedly sending explicit messages to someone he thought was a 12-year-old girl.
It was also claimed that a discussion about meeting was held.
It is understood the ‘girl’ was actually a paedophile-hunting vigilante group.
The messages were allegedly sent using the man’s home Wi-Fi, on his iPhone and were traced to his IP address.
But Cleveland Police said there was “insufficient evidence” to prosecute him after the man – whose identity was withheld – blamed it on a cousin.
However that cousin was never found.
Rejecting the man’s bid for his taxi licence back, a Stockton Council committee cast doubt over the cousin’s existence.
Now one of the councillors who waded through evidence – including redacted police reports and victim statements – is calling for police to take another look at the case.
“I don’t think the police made a sufficient effort to attempt and trace this cousin, if there even is a cousin,” said Stockton Council’s Chris Clough.
“I would fully support the case being reviewed.”
Minutes from a behind-closed-doors hearing reveal that when police swooped on the man’s home they found he was in Pakistan.
Officers from the Police Online Investigation Team (POLIT) ordered his wife not to reveal police had been.
However she ignored the request, tipping him off before he arrived back on Teesside.
Minutes from the hearing last November said the man alleged his cousin was responsible for the messages after he been given an iPhone 6.
It added: “(The driver’s) explanation that he had given away an iPhone 6 to his cousin, as he needed to contact a sick relative, was not believable.”
The papers also claim the man gave an Imam in Pakistan an iPhone 7, taken out in his wife’s name, for which he was continuing to pay the contract.
Cleveland Police was unable to find the cousin while the taxi driver was also unable to locate him.
The minutes added: “(The man) did not produce any evidence to prove that his cousin actually existed. “…