A police officer has denied skipping work in a child abuse investigation team to get a manicure and eat “lashings” of Chinese food with her married lover.
Essex Police detective constables Sharon Patterson, 49, and Lee Pollard, 47, are on trial at the Old Bailey accused of forging documents and concealing evidence over a three-year period.
Giving evidence, Patterson was asked about emails she sent in 2012 after she had split up with her police officer husband Andy over her romance with Pollard.
On April 24, she wrote: “I’m not even asking any questions … I’m not interested. If I’m out doing that, I’m not picking any other shit up.”
She told jurors any suggestion the email indicated she did not care about victims was “ridiculous” and it was just a “turn of phrase” she would use.
At 9.19am on November 23, she cancelled an appointment to view Social Services records to do with a case, saying: “I’m required to assist another officer with something more pressing.”
Patterson said she could not now recall what it was that was more pressing.
At 9.33am the same day, she emailed Pollard saying: “I’m going to get my nails done in a minute – what colour would you suggest?”
Jacqueline Carey, defending, asked: “Were you cancelling your appointment to go and get your nails done?”
The defendant said it was just a “sarcastic remark”, which was how she spoke to Pollard.
Ms Carey went on: “Would you cancel a Social Services appointment to see records to get a manicure?”
Patterson replied: “No. This job in particular had mountains of files. Two or three piles of them because of the amount of intervention (the individual) had had as a child from Social Service.
“I would not have cancelled a viewing at Social Services for this job to get my nails done, definitely not.”
The court heard there was then a gap in emails of four and a half hours before an exchange with Pollard starting at 2.17pm about a Chinese restaurant.
Pollard told her: “Thank you for lunch. I love you.”
Patterson wrote: “It was lovely to spend time with you. Thank you and I love you heaps!! LOL.”
Her lover wrote back: “We ate lashings and lashings of Chinese grub.”
Patterson replied: “And it was scrumptious.”
She explained to jurors the Chinese in question was a buffet restaurant with uncomfortable chairs but lovely food.
Patterson said: “It’s literally a place you go, eat, and leave half an hour, 45 minutes.”
She denied the four and a half hour gap in emails was due to getting her nails done and having a “long lunch”.
Earlier, the mother-of-three told how her marriage broke down in late 2011 over the affair and she got divorced in 2013.
She described her then-husband as “very aggressive” but never violent during their relationship.
Patterson began seeing married Pollard a few months after he joined her team in autumn 2011.
Just before Christmas, her husband became suspicious and she wrote a text to Pollard saying: “Andy knows about us.”
Instead of warning Pollard, she sent the message to her husband while she was at work by mistake.
She said: “Andy phoned me to say that he had received the message and he wanted me to get home right then.”
When she arrived there was “lots of shouting” and her husband threatened that he was “going to kill” Pollard, the court heard.
After spending Christmas together, she went to Scotland to stay with her mother and refused to return until he had left the family home.
The defendant added she had been “scared what he might do”.
By spring of 2012, she received a cash offer for the house and moved to a new home, she said.
Pollard left his wife Fiona for a short period in 2012 and they split up for good the following year, the court heard.
The witness said she continued her relationship with Pollard and they were still a couple.
The court has heard how allegations against the pair came to light when performance reviews were carried out into the child abuse investigation team, in the north of the county, which they worked in.
In her evidence, Patterson denied fabricating a note saying the mother of a complainant did not want to make a statement when she was actually willing.
She said if the woman had wanted to make a statement it would have helped the case.
The defendants, who live together in Colchester, Essex, each deny three counts of misconduct in a public office between 2011 and 2014.