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Police officer keeps job after texting Exeter University riot defendant

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 28, 2012

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Scotland Yard was forced to launch an internal inquiry before any verdict was reached after it emerged Detective Constable James Quigley, an officer who gave evidence at the trial, contacted Johnson

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A Metropolitan Police officer who sent a text message to a millionaire's daughter during her trial has held on to his job.

Exeter University student Laura Johnson, 20, was handed a two-year jail term for chauffeuring looters around London on a crime spree at the height of the 2011 riots.

Scotland Yard was forced to launch an internal inquiry before any verdict was reached after it emerged Detective Constable James Quigley, an officer who gave evidence at the trial, contacted Johnson.

Quigley, 38, was placed on restricted duties while the Metropolitan Police's directorate of professional standards investigated his conduct.

He was later subject to disciplinary action but escaped any accusation of gross misconduct and continues in his job with the force.

A Met Police spokesman said: "A 38-year-old officer from Bromley [in south London] was placed on restricted duties pending the outcome of the internal investigation following allegations of inappropriate behaviour. He has since received disciplinary action."

Johnson, who was reading English and Italian at Exeter University, was stopped by police after she set out in her black Smart car on August 8 2011, driving passengers clad in balaclavas from one location to another so they could loot and rob.

After her arrest, which drew widespread publicity, her family received a string of anonymous hostile letters and Quigley was sent to their home in Orpington, Kent. During her trial at Inner London Crown Court, he detailed his contact with the former grammar school pupil.

Lawyers were forced to interrupt proceedings when it emerged the officer had apparently sent Johnson the text message. Its contents have never been disclosed.

Johnson was found guilty of burglary and handling stolen goods and jailed in May. Accomplice Christopher Edwards, 17, from Catford, south east London, was ordered to serve 12 months at a young offenders' institution after he was convicted on similar charges.

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