A corrupt Metropolitan Police officer who took bribes from nightclub owners and security bosses has told a jury: “My work was always impartial.”
Ex-Sergeant Frank Partridge, 49, admits accepting gifts including a luxury family holiday to Morocco, Metallica tickets for his mother-in-law’s 60th birthday and a monogrammed made-to-measure suit, while tasked with policing London’s West End nightlife, between 2013 and 2015.
He told Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday he “couldn’t believe what was happening” when he was arrested at Scotland Yard on June 24 2015, after spending the night at the apartment in Battersea, south-west London, of Cirque le Soir owner Ryan Bishti, 43.
While there, Partridge is said to have accepted the services of a professional escort, following a night out at wine bars and a casino.
But asked about the allegation by his barrister, Patrick Gibbs KC, the former officer said: “No, I don’t accept that.”
“Back then I did a lot of stupid things over that time. I realise that now but that definitely wasn’t one of them.”
Partridge said he accepted gifts from “friends” because “I had made myself confident I could accept those gifts because there was nothing in it at all”.
“I accept now, wrongly, at the time I accepted gifts, but at the time I had convinced myself it was OK because my performance was not improper,” he said.
“There was no way I would do anything and they all knew that as well.”
Prosecutors say Partridge was bribed because club owners and security bosses wanted him “in their pocket”, and his barrister asked: “Did you do anything improper?”
Partridge said: “No, absolutely not. My work was always impartial.”
He added: “At the time I didn’t think anything of it and didn’t think I was doing anything wrong.
“Now I can see how it looks and I shouldn’t have accepted those gifts because of my position.”
Partridge further denied allegations that Beat nightclub boss Eamonn Mulholland, 55, bribed him with hospitality at Manchester United games and arranged for a shirt to be signed by then-player Wayne Rooney.
He said they were just friends who “went to football together”, adding: “Even now I don’t see that was improper back then.”
The court heard Partridge, who at the time lived in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, was sacked from the Met in April 2016 following misconduct proceedings, because he had travelled four times in first-class train carriages, when only allowed to travel second class.
He told jurors he now lives in Spain with his wife and has been sober for three and a half years, adding: “It’s been a long and difficult journey.”
Partridge has admitted three charges of bribery, but denies five further counts.
He is on trial with Bishti, of Exhibition Road, South Kensington; Mulholland, of Florence Street, Islington, north London; Anna Ginandes, 46, of Fellows Road, Camden, north London; Soraya Henderson, 57, of Glenmore Close, Flackwell Heath, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire; Terry Neil, 56, of Kimbers Drive, Slough, Berkshire; and a defendant who cannot be named for legal reasons.
They each deny two counts of bribery and the trial continues.
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