Policeman Wife Jailed After Lying to Save Her Husband But The Husband Was Freed When Court Found Out It Was A Mixed-up.

Zoe Wilkinson (right) persuaded Natalie Leicester to sign a false statement in support of Sgt Richard Pendlebury (left) after he was detained on suspicion of shoplifting
One policeman’s wife tried to sabotage a shoplifting investigation against her husband but was jailed when she was caught while her husband walked free.
Zoe Wilkinson, 30, persuaded hair stylist Natalie Leicester to sign a false statement in support of Sgt Richard Pendlebury, 42, after he was detained on suspicion of shoplifting.
Fearing her spouse’s job was ‘on the line,’ mother-of-four Wilkinson reeled off a fictitious sob story about the incident whilst she was having her hair done by Leicester at a salon – and the stylist agreed to falsely back her account.
A statement was later filed to police in which Leicester wrongly alleged she saw Wilkinson being assaulted by one of the guards at the supermarket as Sgt Pendlebury tried to intervene.
But Wilkinson – who also ran a youth offending team – ended up in the dock herself after investigators suspected 32-year old Leicester was lying in her statement and discovered she had been sent text messages by Wilkinson saying: ‘Let the games begin’.
Leicester subsequently confessed: ‘I just believed Zoe’s account – I only wanted to help my friends.’
On Thursday Wilkinson, of Bury, Greater Manchester, who was convicted of perverting the course of justice, broke down in tears as she was jailed for 12 months after Leicester agreed to give evidence against her.
Leicester, who pleaded guilty to the offense, was given a 12-month suspended sentence of two years and was ordered to complete 150 hours unpaid work.
Sgt Pendlebury stood trial at an earlier hearing accused of theft, assault and perverting justice but was cleared of all criminal wrongdoing.
He watched from the public gallery at Preston Crown Court as his wife was taken down to the cells.
Passing sentence Judge Mark Brown told Wilkinson: ‘You are a controlling and manipulative individual who is prepared to do anything to get what you want. Your partner’s job was on the line, you knew that Natalie Leicester felt sorry for you and you took advantage of that.
‘You both came up with the idea that Natalie would give false evidence by coming forward as an eye witness.
‘It was a serious deception intended to impede an important police investigation into the conduct of a serving police officer. It was a planned and determined attempt to undermine the process of justice.
‘Zoe Wilkinson you are an intelligent well educated person. You have a law degree not to mention the fact that you have in the past worked in a managerial role in a law firm. You were a manager of a youth offending team – this not a good example to them. ‘
Earlier the court heard how Sgt Pendlebury, an officer for 20 years who was decorated for bravery and who fronted a police anti-shoplifting campaign, was detained whilst shopping at Asda in Bury in September 2014.
Staff stopped the couple outside the store, searched a child’s changing bag he was carrying and found £24 worth of goods including apples, a woman’s leopard skin print skirt, black top and shoes.
During the incident it was claimed Sgt Pendlebury grabbed a security guard upon being asked to come back into the supermarket.
But as police investigated, Wilkinson relayed the incident to Leicester during a hair appointment at her salon and began falsely claiming she had been manhandled by the guard herself and insisted her husband had tried to defuse the situation. 

Later Leicester, from Rochdale, went to the couple’s home to find a typed statement waiting on the kitchen table ready to sign which wrongly claimed she was at Asda at the time of the incident. 
But police investigated Leicester’s statement and used her phone records to establish she was not at the Asda store at the time and both women were arrested in March 2015.
In mitigation Leicester’s lawyer William Donnelly said: ‘She was recruited as a useful idiot and has acted out of naivety. She has known Miss Wilkinson for about four years and she trusted her.
In mitigation for Wilkinson defense lawyer Michael Lavery said his client still insisted she was assaulted by the guard and added: ‘This was a joint plan to assist and bolster what they believed to be a decent and true defense.’

Last June, Pendlebury – who remains suspended from duty and still faces a misconduct hearing – claimed he and Wilkinson had spent £42,000 paying a QC to defend them and accused his police colleagues of corruption and of subjecting them to ‘two horrendous years.’ He insisted at the time of the incident he thought the items were being returned to the store by Wilkinson after she purchased the same outfit.
In a statement, Sgt Pendlebury, who in 2005 was commended after he was stabbed and sprayed with CS gas whilst chasing a suspect, said: ‘We cannot express enough our very serious concerns with regards to the tactics and ‘evidence’ gathering by police officers who have spent two years of public money focusing entirely on this case.
‘What concerns us further is that the process has been overseen and sanctioned by senior officers. We will ensure that this is challenged legally as we believe there are far-reaching criminal offenses committed by those officers involved in our case from the outset.’

You May Also Like

About the Author: nath

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: