Former Lancashire Police officer from Preston jailed after attempted murder in Manchester hotel

A former Lancashire Police officer from Preston has been jailed for attempted murder.

James Riley, 28, was sentenced to 16 years at Manchester Crown Court for attempted murder after pleading guilty to the offence.

Greater Manchester Police initially responded to a call of a concern for the welfare of a woman in her 20s unresponsive at a hotel on Brook Street in Manchester on the night of Thursday 10 November 2022.

She was found by emergency services in a life-threatening condition and was later transferred to hospital in an induced coma. She regained consciousness the following day, with some long-lasting injuries suffered as a result.

Riley, who was not on duty at the time, placed a call lasting around 10 minutes to his family, before calling anonymously for an ambulance. He then fled the scene leaving behind the victim and trying to evade capture using several different types of transport to hide his tracks and direction of travel.

This was done initially done by exiting the hotel in his car before crashing it nearby. Riley then ran from the scene and attempted to get on a bus, taxi and hitchhike back home to Lancashire.

A painstaking CCTV trawl managed to track Riley’s movements in the aftermath of the incident and further highlighted his instincts and intention on evading capture by retrieving two £250 cash transactions from different ATMs and discarding his mobile phone to ensure he could not be tracked through digital means.

Following a wide-ranging search using a number of resources including Specialist Operations across three forces in the North West, Riley was located and arrested in the early hours of the morning in West Yorkshire.

Lancashire Police immediately suspended Riley and launched an internal investigation into his conduct alongside the criminal enquiries by GMP. This led to an accelerated misconduct hearing where he was dismissed from the force without notice. He has also been added to the College of Policing barred list.

Detective Sergeant Heidi Cullum from GMP’s Major Incident Team said: “Firstly, I would like to commend the bravery of the victim who has throughout this case shown immense strength to tell her story.

‘’What happened to her on that night, by someone she should have been able to trust is unthinkable. We hope now she can move on with the rest of her life safe in the knowledge that he cannot commit this act of violence to anyone else whilst behind bars.

"The support and access GMP detectives received from our counterparts in Lancashire and West Yorkshire was key to ensure we conducted a prompt and effective investigation.

"As police officers the public rightly expect the highest standards of behaviour and integrity. As a profession we are all hurt by Riley’s actions, which can never be justified, and we are pleased he will now face the consequences.

"Collectively we remain committed to tackle all forms of domestic abuse, as well as safeguarding victims. We hope the public take some confidence that Riley’s actions do not reflect policing in anyway shape or form, with the vast majority being committed individuals focused on serving their communities and keeping them safe on a daily basis.”

Detective Superintendent Zoe Mainey Head of Professional Standards from Lancashire Police added; "James Riley’s behaviour clearly fell very far short of what we demand of our officers and staff, both on and off duty. Most of our staff are honest, hard-working people who just want to serve their communities, but when our employees fall below the standards we and the public rightly expect, and erode the trust we depend upon to police effectively and with legitimacy, we will always act.

"Lancashire Constabulary is committed to tackling all forms of domestic abuse, safeguarding victims, and holding perpetrators of domestic abuse to account for their behaviour and crimes. We will not tolerate domestic abuse offending by any of our officers or staff, and will hold them to account both criminally and through our internal misconduct processes.

"We hope that the prompt action taken by our Professional Standards Department in dismissing this officer swiftly, prior to the conclusion of the criminal investigation, shows our commitment to tackling any allegations of this type against a serving police officer.

"We utterly condemn the actions of former officer James Riley, and our thoughts are with the victim and those affected by this extremely serious and concerning crime."

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