Page last updated Sunday 22nd March 2014 at 1340hrs
“I didn’t feel like I had to ask questions about it“
That was the nub of a quite incredulous explanation that Detective Constable Tanya Strangeway (pictured above centre) gave West Yorkshire Police Anti Corruption Unit (ACU) colleagues when she was questioned about receiving £13,000 in cash and an Audi A4 car worth £10,000. The first tranche of cash was a gift wrapped parcel which contained bundles of £10 and £20 notes. There was £10,000 in total. She subsequently received another £2,000 in cash for a shopping trip and, then, further parcels of money were posted through her letterbox, amounting to around £1,000.
Ex-Detective Constable Nicholas McFadden, of West Yorkshire Police’s elite Organised Crime Squad, had an “on-off ” affair with colleague DC Strangeway after they had called off their engagement in June 2006. They met whilst McFadden was working at the notorious Killingbeck Police Station (read more by clicking here) and lived together in Ossett from 2003. McFadden went on trial in February 2013 accused of stealing police-siezed heroin, cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis from his police employers, worth over £3.5 million, and then plotting with his older brother, Simon, to supply the drugs back onto the streets. They were alleged at the time to have made at least £600,000 between them. The true figure, revealed at a POCA hearing, was actually £1.8 million.
The £23,000 gifted to DC Strangeway was alleged to have come from those proceeds of crime and she swallowed the story that McFadden had sold his house in Ossett and the money, and car, was her share of the proceeds of the sale. Even though she lived at the house for less than 3 years and McFadden had been married to Clair Sexton (pictured above left) for four years, by then. A relationship that began at the very same property in Ossett, before McFadden moved to Castleford to share the house where Clair had lived with her first husband, Mark Donnelly.
DC Strangeway, who had previously lived in Morley, near Leeds, brought the relationship to an end because ‘she’d fallen out of love‘ with McFadden but they kept in contact as ‘friends‘. They texted and sent the odd email but the subject of the outstanding equity in a home she had never partly, or jointly owned, was not at any time, seemingly, the subject matter of those communications. They did, however, continue to share an interest in body building/sculpting and the use of substances assisting that process. Miss Strangeway was a member at Fitness First gym in Wakefield at the time. Along with another former West Yorkshire officer, PC Mick Amos. She had also been taken on as a trainee investigator on a murder investigation that led to the jailing of alleged perpetrators now known as The Bradford Three (Read more here). On that squad of detectives, led by the current Head of Professional Standards in West Yorkshire Police, DCS Andy Brennan, she was known as The Team Totty.
‘After Nick decided to stay with Clair, we didn’t have much contact,’ DC Strangeway is reported to have said. ‘Then, in June 2011, I received a text message from him saying we were going to be working together on a crime investigation. We started to have sex again, soon after. He then told me that he had something he wanted to give me and when we met up, he surprised me with the gift wrapped £10,000 cash bundle‘.
On the basis of reliable information received, uPSD believe that there may have been inaccuracies in DC Strangeway’s witness box testimony as it is believed that the relationship re-commenced a year earlier than stated. In 2010.
The extraordinary gifts from McFadden came to light when DC Strangeway was asked to declare them after the vetting procedures for detectives changed at West Yorkshire Police. Conversely, DC McFadden had told assistant headmistress, Clair, that the excess cash money had come from double-pay overtime he was doing and said he had, also, remortgaged his property at Ossett. He gave her £8,000 cash spending money, which she accepted without question, as well as going along with the propostion that over £20,000 of home improvements plus luxury weekends and holidays could also be funded out of police overtime.
In October 2012, when DC Strangeway had been questioned by ACU colleagues, following the vetting form declaration of the money and the car, she received a text message from DC McFadden apologising for what he had done. It read: ‘You did the right thing. I have dragged you into something I shouldn’t have. I cannot express how deeply sorry I am for what I have done to you. I’ve ruined a lot of lives. Sorry‘. That rather understates things and he’s certainly sullied the reputation and credibility of DC Strangeway. She has not, so far, faced any criminal charges or internal disciplinary proceedings which is surprising, to say the least. However, that situation may change within the next two weeks or so if it turns out that mistakes in her witness accounts were dishonestly intentioned.
Anti-corruption detectives in West Yorkshire Police first became aware of McFadden’s new found and unexplained wealth, in the middle of 2011, when Yorkshire Building Society filed a SAR (Suspicious Activity Report) stating he had deposited a total of £30,000 in small payments, into their cash machines, over a three month period.
When McFadden was arrested at Crime Squad HQ on the Wakefield 41 Industrial Estate, in October 2011, ACU detectives searched his Ford Focus car parked outside those police premises and found £6,000 in wads of cash, hidden in four different compartments. They also found wads of cash stashed in bags, totalling £19,755, and a further £157,560 in the garage of the marital home in Castleford, West Yorkshire.
Between the homes of DC McFadden and his brother Simon, there was over £600,000 found in cash. DC McFadden had pleaded not guilty at Leeds Crown Court to eight charges of stealing and conspiracy to supply drugs, with his brother pleading not guilty to four charges of conspiracy to supply and one of money laundering. DC McFadden and Simon McFadden‘s wife, Karen, had already pleaded guilty to money laundering.
However, it took jurors on Tuesday 2nd April, 2013 less than four hours to find Nicholas McFadden guilty of stealing class A and B drugs, including heroin and cocaine, and both brothers guilty of conspiring to supply them. The former police officer was acquitted on a charge of stealing the amphetamines and the jury found both not guilty of conspiring to supply it. They will be sentenced, along with mother-of-one Karen McFadden, on Thursday 4th April 2013.
For Detective Constable Tanya Louise Strangeway, the legacy for her is that she is deceitful, and cannot be trusted around another woman’s husband, and is either unbelievably gullible, incredibly thick or had the inkling all along that the money was the result of money laundering or, possibly, even worse. If she had, in fact, re-commenced her relationship in 2010, and not 2011, then the hole she finds herself in gets ever deeper.
She was also well aware that Normanton lad, PC Gary Blezard, was supplying the sex performance drug, VIAGRA, to colleagues in Holbeck Police Station and didn’t think to ask too many questions about that, either.
Whichever way the cards fall, she thoroughly deserves her place amongst the other Rogue Officers in West Yorkshire Police.