Belfast Telegraph

Appeal over stolen engagement ring as cop disciplined for errors in case

By David Young

A woman whose engagement ring was stolen at a gym has issued a heartfelt plea for its return.

Kate Morrison (29), from east Belfast, asked for the public's help on the same day it was revealed that a PSNI officer had been disciplined for failings in the investigation into the theft.

She left the ring - an oval cut diamond with diamonds on the shoulders - sitting on a bench at her gym. When she went back to the changing room it had gone.

Kate reported the incident to police and gave them a description of a possible suspect.

The Police Ombudsman's Office launched an investigation after she complained that the police officer responsible for her case had failed to seize CCTV footage and had failed to personally contact a potential female suspect.

Subsequent enquiries by Ombudsman investigators found that the officer involved did not attempt to approach the potential suspect until more than five months later.

In his defence, the policeman said he had previously asked the gym manager to contact the woman, and that she had denied having seen the ring.

The police officer accepted that it was his duty to make these enquiries himself, and indicated he had tried to contact her from his work phone but had been unable to get through.

He also claimed he failed to make notes of the attempts to establish contact, however phone records showed there had been no such calls prior to the first one he had logged almost five months after the incident.

In addition, the officer admitted it was at least seven months after the ring's disappearance before he tried to contact other potential witnesses.

The Ombudsman's Office also established that while the officer had watched CCTV footage from the gym with the manager, he had not seized the footage. This was found to have had the potential to hinder enquiries.

The policeman was disciplined for these failings, and his supervisor also received a sanction for failing to ensure the investigation was properly supervised.

Last night care worker trainer Kate - who married husband Richard seven months ago - contacted the Belfast Telegraph to ask our readers to help her find the missing ring.

When it vanished in 2014 Kate started a Twitter campaign, and while she had retweets from people including Rory McIlroy and Brian McFadden, she was unable to find the missing jewellery.

The care trainer said she was disappointed at the way the PSNI had handled the suspected theft.

"Even thinking about it now is beginning to annoy me," she added. "I had the ring for just year and a week.

"Richard and I got engaged in November 2013, and the following November it was stolen, so I didn't even have the ring for our wedding."

If you recognise the ring and know where it is, you can contact Kate through her twitter account at @k8hmurf

Belfast Telegraph


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