Corrupt police officer who boasted 'I can do what I want' is jailed over parties with prostitutes and drugs
A corrupt cop who boasted "I can do what I want" while bankrupting himself paying for drugs and sex workers has been put behind bars.
Within just 14 months PC Jon Snaith blew over £23,000 on a "lifestyle of depravity" that meant the end of his 20-year career with Northumbria Police and the start of a two-year jail term.
Snaith, of Felton, near Morpeth, Northumberland, had pleaded guilty to police corruption and offering to supply class A drugs to others.
Prosecutors say Snaith "served his own ends by failing to fulfil his duties".
Newcastle Crown Court heard the 42-year-old constable, who was stationed at Berwick, in the Scottish Borders, had been under surveillance by the counter corruption unit and was exposed as a cocaine user who paid for sexualservices from Eastern European prostitutes.
On the day of his arrest in April last year Snaith had held an all-night drugs and sex party at his home and had put a shout out on Grindr asking random guests to join in.
He was about to use his car to go on a supermarket trip but was approached by surveillance officers who feared for public safety when they noticed he was ‘sweating heavily with dilated pupils and clearly unfit to drive’.
Snaith, who had completed a course through his work on how to recognise sexual exploitation, confessed to them: "I've gone too far this time".
Mr Recorder John Aitken said such offences "destroy the trust of many in the police force" and that Snaith had been living a "fantasy lifestyle".
The judge told Snaith: "You entered into a lifestyle of depravity, using your own money to fund it and in the process bankrupted yourself.
"There is simply no question that you knew that was an outrageous way for a police officer to behave.
“Indeed, you vocalised that at one point when you were overheard, while under surveillance, brazenly saying 'I'm a police officer, I can do anything'.
"It was not simply a case of you indulging in your own fantasy lifestyle, there were serious risks for others.
"You knew these women were strangers to the UK and that increased the risk they might have been trafficked but, single mindedly, you ignored that simply for your own satisfaction.“You were aware of the drugs in circulation and who might be supplying them."
The court heard he was provided with his illegal needs by Romanian sex worker Marcela Muntean, 31, and a man who can be identified only as "A" and he made regular money transfers to both.
Prosecutor Sharon Beattie told the court: "He had transferred £7,000 in total to Muntean and 'A' and had cash withdrawals in the order of £16,720, all coinciding with contact between those three individuals."
Miss Beattie said the contact between the three was "extensive" and there were 300 calls and messages exchanged between Snaith and Muntean alone.
She added: "It was clear this was for the provision of sex and drugs throughout that period."
The court heard during one exchange between Snaith and 'A' the cop asked ‘Any English girls?’ but was told no.
Miss Beattie said: "It is clear he was aware the females being offered and supplied to him were of non-UK origin."
The court heard 'A' was arrested on suspicion of human trafficking in January last year and being a "big boss" in the sex and drugs underworld.
Miss Beattie said Snaith was aware of the arrest and offered 'A' advice such as "to say nothing" and even encouraged him to breach bail conditions by going to the cop's house for a "line".
The court heard Snaith and 'A' discussed prices of "gear" and even exchanged pictures of women the officer could be supplied with.
Miss Beattie said two months before Snaith's arrest he was seen talking to a group of men who commented on his job as a police officer.
She added: "He was heard to reply 'I can do what I want'."
The court heard the night before he was arrested, Snaith was seen taking £500 in cash from a machine before Muntean arrived at his house, with others, in the early hours.
Miss Beattie added: "Snaith went on Grindr and was trying to encourage people to attend and inviting them to have sex and take drugs at the property.
"He referred to 'line, white, coke' being available to any participants.
"It was clearly the drugs Muntean had brought him and he clearly offered to supply.
"He was a police officer willing to supply to anyone who was willing to come and have sex and take drugs with him."
The court heard after Snaith was arrested from his car during a supermarket trip, police raided his home and found Muntean, with a large amount of cash and drugs and another woman present.
Muntean, of no fixed address, admitted supplying cocaine and converting criminal property in relation to around ten thousand pound that passed through her bank account.
She was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with rehabilitation requirements and 100 hours unpaid work.
The judge said there was an overwhelming likelihood she had been exploited "in some way, shape or form" while in the UK.
Jonathan Pigford, defending Snaith, said the cop met Muntean through a website that was available to the public.
Mr Pigford said Snaith had lost a long term relationship due to his "infidelities" and had become "more and more isolated" in the build up to the offences.
Mr Pigford said the sex and drugs were "escapism" for Snaith and helped mask the "pain and isolation" he was feeling.
Paul Reid, defending Muntean, said the sex worker's life was a "sad story of exploitation and abuse" and that she made no money or luxuries for herself.
Mr Reid said Muntean was prostituted by others, who became violent when she wanted to stop.
Superintendent Sav Patsalos, Head of the Professional Standards Department at Northumbria Police, said: “The Force identified a number of lines of inquiry in relation to Jon Snaith and carried out a thorough investigation.
“He was dismissed without notice at a misconduct hearing in September last year.
“This followed a court case where he pleaded guilty to driving whilst unfit through drugs.
“Earlier this year he admitted two other offences, for which he has now been sentenced.
“Snaith clearly abused his privileged position and his actions were completely unacceptable.
“We expect the highest standards from all of our officers and staff, both on and off-duty, and if they fall below these we will take appropriate action.
“I want to reassure the public that the sort of behaviour displayed by Snaith is not reflective of the outstanding professionalism and commitment displayed by officers and staff every day.”
Emma Dowling of the Crown Prosecution Service said: “Cases such as this, though thankfully rare, are incredibly disappointing for all of us and can be understandably damaging to our continuous efforts to improve public confidence in our work.
“I would like to praise the decisive actions of Northumbria Police in this case.
“Once suspicions were raised about John Snaith’s behaviour, they moved swiftly to investigate and secure the key evidence that has enabled us to bring this criminal prosecution against him.”