Belfast Telegraph

Police officer accused of threats scam: Officer faked intimidation in bid to offload his £380,000 home, court told

By Paul Higgins

A police officer allegedly orchestrated a fake campaign of intimidation against himself so that the authorities would buy his £380,000 home, a jury has heard.

Within weeks of refusing an offer of £370,000 for his Bangor home – and just as the housing market entered the downturn – Constable Keith Davidson applied for his home to be bought under the special purchase of evacuated dwellings (SPED) scheme, Newtownards Crown Court heard. The SPED scheme allows the authorities to buy homes of people who have been intimidated.

In two refused applications, Davidson had claimed he was the subjects of threats, that his home and car had been vandalised and covered in graffiti and that his car had been stolen, the jury heard.

However, prosecution lawyer David McDowell told the court that at the time the 45-year-old officer applied he was in financial hardship, his marriage was breaking down and he was £18,000 in debt.

He told the jury that the Crown case was that Davidson's applications were fake and amounted to fraud and misconduct in public office.

Davidson, whose address was given as c/o Bangor PSNI Station, denies charges of fraud by false representation and misconduct in public office on dates between April 22 and August 8, 2008.

The jury heard how Davidson sold his previous property through the SPED scheme in 2002.

But while he did not face charges in relation to that, the reported intimidation "bore striking similarities" to the alleged incidents in 2008.

Mr McDowell said the alleged intimidation began eight days before he made his first SPED application.

Mr McDowell told the jury that after the SPED application was refused for the second time, there were no more incidents.

Davidson was questioned about the allegations but denied "concocting the series of incidents".

The trial, set to last to the end of the month, continues.

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