Bent policewoman who stole £3,000 from Met base in Barking is spared jail

Rafi Caplin, 72, today received a suspended sentence at Snaresbrook Crown Court. Picture: John Still

Rafi Caplin, 72, today received a suspended sentence at Snaresbrook Crown Court. Picture: John Stillwell/PA - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

A bent policewoman who stole around £3,000 of seized cash from a Met base in Barking was today spared jail.

Shannon Butler, 24, forged entries in police records to swipe money held in a safe at Fresh Wharf custody suite in Muirhead Quay, Quay Road.

She misused the base’s computer to hunt for property confiscated in evidence or for forensic tests, filling in records incorrectly so that CCTV cameras would not catch her.

Asked by Judge Murray Shanks about the “jiggery-pokery”, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard how the Designated Detention Officer had first lied about the money when interviewed with officers from Scotland Yard only to plead guilty to four counts of theft by employee.

She claimed she had been blackmailed into stealing the cash.

Marco Guarnieri, defending, said her blackmailer, a man “well known to the police for drugs”, turned threats into demands for money, which she worked overtime to hand over.

Eventually, reportedly for fear of being branded a drug dealer, Butler stole funds on four occasions between March and August 2017.

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Yet months after her arrest last October and her interview with officers in December, when she resigned from the Met, Butler has yet to make a formal complaint about the intimidation.

“Her view is that she is trying to move on with her life,” said Guarnieri, adding: “Even if he were to receive a prison sentence, he has family and he has people he frequents.”

This, said Judge Shanks, showed little faith in the institution Butler should have worked to uphold.

“We have a civilised society, not a society where bullies go around. That’s what she was part of,” he responded.

A lenient decision, the judge added, risked suggesting the legal system was protecting “our own” and that it was vital to hold law enforcement to account.

Describing a tearful Butler as “lucky” to escape time behind bars, he handed her a concurrent sentence of 14 months, suspended for two years.

Butler, of Rochford, Essex, must also undertake 150 hours unpaid work and repay the Met £150 every month.

Her actions, he said, had not prejudiced the cases of the arrested persons whose money she stole.

The Met declined to comment any further on the incident.