An extraordinary Met Police disciplinary hearing concludes with a female officer being exonerated from abuse claims from her former partner, a more senior cop himself facing abuse claims
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A policewoman has been cleared of all allegations of misconduct following a three-year Met Police investigation into claims of domestic abuse from her male ex-partner – a more senior serving police officer, Byline Times can reveal.
PC Mia Korrell, a black officer who was working in South London at the time, was accused of assault, coercive and controlling behaviour, and criminal damage against an officer several ranks her senior, dubbed “Mr A”, which was said to have occurred over a period of nearly two years. (Byline Times is unable to disclose Mr A’s identity due to an anonymity order.)
Criminal charges had already been dropped due to lack of evidence, but the Met Police pursued a grinding years-long internal probe into her alleged behaviour. It culminated in a week-long hearing last week during PC Korrell’s maternity leave.
The case reached a dramatic conclusion on Friday, as PC Korrell was cleared of all wrongdoing. Instead, the legal chair of the disciplinary panel raised concerns that it was her senior Met Police ex, not her, who had at times appeared to be engaging in coercive control.
In what seemed to be an unusual move, the legally qualified chair, Maurice Cohen, accused the complainant in the closing statement.
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Questions Over Testimony
Amid a troubled two-year relationship after meeting in the force, PC Korrell had shown intent to leave the relationship with Mr A one night before the pandemic.
Mr A then complained to his close friend, the superintendent at the borough police station where they lived, with allegations of abuse. After returning the next night to seek help as she was feeling suicidal, she was arrested.
PC Korrell, who has been placed on restricted duties while under investigation, faced allegations of criminal damage and assault, after her ex alleged she had deliberately crushed his foot in a door and broken property the night she walked out.
The misconduct panel heard conflicting statements about how Mr A’s foot was injured before PC Korrell’s arrest. Evidence of property damage presented from that night were two broken photo frames – which PC Korrell said in fact belonged to her.
Other allegations of assault including giving Mr A a black eye – for which no photo evidence was provided – were dismissed as unproven on the balance of probabilities.
Mr A also claimed that PC Korrell forced him to stop cycling to work after he was concussed in a crash, controlled his friendships, and tracked his location, among other allegations. But the panel concluded that his friendships did not appear to be controlled as he continued to cycle frequently, saw his friends repeatedly, and both sides had consented to a location-tracking app.
The disciplinary panel chair described her former relationship with Mr A as “toxic”.
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Mr A gave evidence with a pronounced stutter and with his barrister describing him as a “broken man.” However, the disciplinary panel chair pointed to a video dating to after the relationship was said to have ended – where he showed no signs of a stutter and he appeared happy.
The legal chair dubbed the testimony provided by Mr A as often “embellished” and “unreliable”, while PC Korrell’s testimony had a “ring of truth” to it. And the investigating authority rejected the argument that Mr. A’s account lacked corroboration, arguing that friends and neighbours’ who gave evidence had “no reason to lie”. They instead claimed that PC Korrell had “every reason to lie to save her job.”
Mr A’s testimony claimed that PC Korrell was abusive in part due to past trauma and PTSD. But PC Korrell’s defence dubbed it an attempt to paint her as unstable to discredit her. Home Office guidance on Coercive and Controlling Behaviour says abusers sometimes “attempt to frustrate or interfere with a police investigation, including attempting to undermine the victim’s statements by, for example, claiming that they are mentally ill”.
The hearing was also told that Mr A continued to call PC Korrell after she was placed on police bail with restrictions on contacting him.
In his summing up, panel chair Maurice Cohen argued that Mr A “sought to exaggerate and embellish his evidence…In contrast PC Korrell was found to be an adequate, balanced, credible and consistent witness.”
Several women’s rights groups told Byline Times that Mr A’s actions in raising the complaint appeared indicative of “DARVO” style revenge tactics – short for “deny, attack, and reverse victim and offender,” viewed as a strategy in the domestic abuse ‘playbook’.
Tables Turned on Accuser
PC Korrell claimed that it was her who was coercively controlled by Mr A. She raised the point that Mr A had the cards for their joint bank account, with PC Korrell instead receiving an “allowance” from her own salary.
The panel heard evidence that after he had reported her for alleged assault – Mr A encouraged PC Korrell to move to a flat outside of London, in an area “which she had no knowledge of.” The flat was a 20 minutes walk from the station and PC Korrell could not drive. The hearing chair noted: “This was problematic and potentially risky for her…He provided the deposit and told her to advise the agent that she was accepting the property.”
The chair added: “The panel finds these matters to be indicative of the fact that PC Korrell was not exerting coercive and controlling behaviour against Mr A – and to the contrary, he appears to be doing so against her on occasions.”
PC Korrell told the hearing that she had been driven to the brink of suicide by her ex-partner’s behaviour, putting a “suicide kit” in her locker at her local station and alleging that Mr A repeatedly contacted her after there were bail conditions on her against speaking to him.
Her defence claimed that Mr A’s actions were a “cynical endeavour to exploit the concern of the Metropolitan Police with regard to domestic abuse…to continue to exert control over PC Korell” and/or to get his allegations “in front of the police before PC Korell made her own allegations.”
And they claimed Mr A had filed a police complaint when it became clear PC Korrell was going to leave him. Mr A’s team disputed these allegations and claimed that PC Korrell had “nothing to lose” in making the claims against Mr A.
But barrister Imogen Egan, speaking for the investigating police authority and Mr A, called him a “plainly a vulnerable individual, deeply affected by his relationship with PC Korrell…His continuing interactions with Korrell, despite the alleged abuse, was seen as an indicator of a coercive and controlling relationship.”
She described Mr A as a “broken man”, having refrained from any romantic relationships since breaking off contact with PC Korrell. They dismissed any discrepancies in his account as due to time or misunderstandings, insisting the core of the allegations was not affected.
Domestic Abuse Groups Speak Out
PC Korrell’s barrister, Rebecca Hadgett, said the accused ex “made these allegations, and played himself as the victim, whilst maintaining his relationship with PC Korell, itself illustrative of his manipulative and controlling nature.”
It was a claim endorsed by domestic abuse charity Solace Women’s Aid. Rebecca Goshawk, Head of Partnerships and Public Affairs at the non-profit group told Byline Times the pattern of abuse allegedly experienced by PC Korrell at the hands of her ex-partner and colleagues in the police is “horrifying, but sadly not rare.”
“Perpetrators use power and control to abuse their victims; police officers are no different and have the extra protection of knowing the law and the criminal justice process, having societal status and, as recent cases have shown, there are few consequences,” Goshawk said.
She added: “All of this means that women experiencing abuse from a perpetrator within the police often find it harder to report as they fear not being believed, that others will cover up for a fellow officer, or that the abuse will escalate because they will be told about them reporting to the police. To see this play out with such devastating effects for this woman is heart-wrenching.”
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has pledged to clear out abusive cops – but he has refused to accept the charge of “institutional sexism” in the force. Photo: Tayfun Salci/Zuma
Goshawk suggested Mr A “has been able to take advantage of his position to shift blame to the woman and accuse her of abusive behaviour, which has perpetuated further abuse against her, all whilst he has been promoted.”
“This should never have been allowed to happen and it appears the Met have failed their officer at several points throughout this process. Women are continually asked to put their trust in the police, but if they can’t protect their own officers, how can other women expect them to protect us?”
She called for a “root and branch inquiry” into institutional misogyny in the Metropolitan Police.
Isabelle Younane, Head of External Affairs at Women’s Aid (UK), said the Met Police’s record on domestic abuse was appalling, adding: “Following the murders of Sarah Everard, and abuse of many other women, the horrendous abuses performed by David Carrick, and the recent Casey review which highlighted attitudes of racism and misogyny within the Met police, it is inexcusable that vetting procedures are still failing to protect women and girls.”
She called for an overhaul in the Met Police to ensure “women and children are believed, heard and get the support they deserve.”
There is not currently understood to be an investigation into Mr A. PC Korell did not take the Appropriate Authority up on an offer to facilitate a formal complaint before the hearing. She suggested that it would represent a conflict of interest in giving evidence to the body investigating her. Byline Times understands she has offered to fully comply with any upcoming investigations.
PC Korrell is currently on maternity leave, after going on to have a “happy and loving” relationship with a new partner, who also gave testimony in her favour over the course of the week. She is currently doing a PhD on racism in policing, and passed her sergeant examinations while on restricted duties. She was blocked from taking on a promotion.
The Metropolitan Police was asked for comment but declined until the outcome had been formally published.
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