A POLICE officer who abused his position to spy on his wife and her lover has walked free from court.
But the decision of PC Andrew Liptrot, former crime prevention officer at Accrington, to quit the force after almost 25 years because of the case has cost him his £200,000 pension.
Liptrot, 47, of Lostock Hall , Preston, admitted seven offences of misconduct in a public office.
Five involved accessing police files and the other two related to CCTV footage obtained from two Chorley pubs where he suspected his BA flight attendant wife Karen, 38, was meeting her lover.
He was given a 12-month community order and told to carry out 150 hours of unpaid community work.
Judge Robert Brown told him: "The only one to suffer real damage in this case is you."
Preston Crown Court heard that Liptrot was jealous and obsessive over his wife’s affair with his best friend Darren Watson.
He obtained the CCTV footage by pretending he was investigating a crime, and used the police computer to get information about Mr Watson and about the investigation into himself.
The father of two was cleared of two actual bodily harm assaults and one common assault against his wife at a previous hearing.
He had been accused of dragging his wife from the matrimonial home and leaving her naked outside.
Liptrot insisted that bruises to her wrists were caused during lovemaking involving handcuffs.
He told the jury he was confused, angry and upset when he found out about the affair after six years of marriage. But he denied being violent.
Mr Gerald Jones, prosecuting, said Liptrot had claimed to be investigating handbag thefts and credit card fraud to obtain the CCTV tapes.
Mr Rick Holland, defending, said Liptrot had led an idyllic happy family life and the affair put him in an emotional maelstrom.
He said: "Gnawing away inside was an unhealthy desire to find out what was going on and he behaved in an irrational manner. His motive was to find out more about his wife’s infidelity and the person whom he thought had always been his best friend."
Judge Brown said Liptrot had doted on his wife and given her unreserved love and attention. He also had an exemplary service record and had spent time in the armed response unit.
His honesty in pleading guilty a month before he had completed 25 years’ service had cost him £200,000.
The judge said it was clear Liptrot was under a great deal of pressure and he was probably suffering from clinical depression at the time.
He said Karen was now in a relationship with another man.
Detective Superintendent Martyn Liveridge from Lancashire Constabulary’s professional standards department said after the case: "This individual’s conduct has been found to fall well short of the high professional standards expected of a police officer and the constabulary has taken a robust stance in investigating this case, which has resulted in his conviction in court and his resignation from the force.
"It is disappointing that the behaviour of one employee can potentially undermine the valued work carried out by the constabulary on a day-to-day basis."