British guard jailed for 'lover trips'

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Mar 19 2013 08:45 AM | Updated as of Mar 19 2013 04:46 PM

LONDON - A British diplomatic protection group officer, whose job included guarding the prime minister's Downing Street residence, was jailed Monday for bunking off to meet his lover.

Married officer Ricci Giff, 38, left his patrol at some of London's most sensitive buildings to see his lover Melissa Ramsden on three occasions in late 2011.

He admitted three counts of misconduct in a public office and was jailed for nine months at London's Southwark Crown Court.

Ramsden, who was reported to have a history of depression, committed suicide in December 2011. Photographs and text messages found on her phone by officers investigating the case revealed their relationship.

Judge Anthony Pitts said what Giff did during their meetings was not important but the fact that he was unable to respond if there had been an emergency was.

Giff's behaviour in such an important job could not be tolerated, he said.

The court heard that Giff left his radio on when he saw Richardson but the judge said: "It probably in fact made it quite difficult for you to respond quickly if you were in the middle of making love to her during these periods."

"You are there as part of a unit in a designated area, on call ready to respond immediately to what may be an incident of extreme urgency. That is your job."

Giff remains a police officer pending disciplinary proceedings next month which will result in him being sacked.

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