The Top Cop, The Taxi Driver and the Mistress

    After being suspended for almost a year, the former Local Police Area Commander for Milton Keynes Gez Chiariello was fired last week. 

    But with further developments reported this week and a pending appeal, there appears to be more news to come over the coming months.

    When MKFM attended the hearing last week, it was clear there was much more evidence that Chiariello’s team wanted to present. However,Thames Valley Police had won a legal argument meaning that only one element of the case could be heard. 

    So how did the top cop end up losing his job?

    The first sign of trouble was when Mr Chiariello was suspended in February amongst reports in the local press of a complicated love life. 

    During his first hearing in April, he was issued a final written warning following an argument with taxi driver Jas Puni. 

    Puni claimed at the time he had lost his livelihood following the incident with Chiariello, however it later transpired that Puni had a list of convictions and was about to lose his licence before the incident with Chiariello. 

    Despite this when Chiariello appealed the final written warning, the sanction was upheld. The final warning was taken into consideration when deciding if Chiariello would keep his job or not during the special case hearing last week.

    Since then Puni, who now runs his own gas fitting company i-Gas Solutions, has taken to social media to vent his anger at Mr Chiariello. 

    Mr Chiariello was originally due to attend his second misconduct hearing in October following alleged misconduct reported by his former personal assistant and mistress Lauren Henson. The hearing was postponed to next April following the arrest of Chiariello in September amid allegations of trying to pervert the course of justice. The charges were later dropped but Thames Valley Police decided to arrange the special case hearing before Christmas.

    The hearing held last week didn't cover the original allegations but was instead centred around the alleged actions of Mr Chiariello and a close friend, named by the MK Citizen as Liz Hodgkinson. She allegedly telephoned Henson's new employer to cause trouble for her by posing as a reporter for The Sun. Her employer, listed on Henson's LinkedIn profile as Connolly Gallen Financial Planners in Stony Stratford, reported the matter to the Police believing the call to be a hoax.

    Whilst Chiariello's defence team didn't go into great detail during the hearing, they disputed the evidence and the fairness of the hearing, which didn't allow any witness evidence to be heard through cross-examination. It was apparent that John Beggs QC defending Chiariello believed that potential key witnesses, including Lauren Henson, were crucial to ensuring his client had a fair trial. He outlined potential criminal behaviour by Henson and said the evidence against Mr Chiairiello was not incontrovertible and that it would be robustly defended in any subsequent proceedings. 

    Mr Chiairello chose not to give evidence but instead sat with his head bowed throughout the proceedings. He has since been contacted by MKFM but refused to comment. 

    In summing up, Thames Valley Police Chief Constable, Francis Habgood, stated that Chiariello was the “master of his own downfall”. He said that his fall from grace was down to a “chaotic and troubled” private life. He described Mr Chiariello as “being in a relationship that was love-hate but had become became hate-hate, and one that was played out in the public domain and eventually led to his dismissal.”

    MKFM previously asked Thames Valley Police for a freedom of information breakdown of the cost to the tax payer for investigating Chiariello. They claimed that they do not record such data.

    A source close to Mr Chiariello who contacted MKFM told us ''because of the pending appeal and legal process there is only one side of the story being told at the moment. What is clear is that there is more to this than has been played out in the public eye. People will make up their own mind, there is no way on earth a well-respected police officer with over 23 years in the force would be so stupid to lose his job in this manner. He can't wait to have his say when this is all over.''

    During the hearing at Thames Valley Police headquarters in Oxford, the Chief Constable Francis Habgood told the special case hearing that Chiariello had worked hard particularly during his time at Milton Keynes and had an exemplary 23-year career in the force.

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