A former Aberdeen cop accused of stalking his ex-partner has been found not guilty.
Michael Hetherington, 28, was working as a police officer early last year when he was accused of accessing his ex-girlfriend’s social media accounts from his home.
He was also accused of logging on to a work computer at Queen Street Police Station in Aberdeen and writing an electronic message to the woman’s employer, claiming she was having “illicit sexual encounters” with three colleagues in hotel rooms on her lunch breaks and turning up for work hungover after late-night drinking sessions.
A trial at Aberdeen Sheriff Court yesterday heard the woman’s employer found no evidence to support the claims contained in the electronic message and police launched an investigation.
The woman told the court her relationship with Mr Hetherington broke down in December 2018 after two years.
She said that in February 2019 she noticed some of her Facebook pictures deleted and strange activity on her Snapchat account.
The court heard Police Scotland computer technicians looked into which computer, IP address and work ID had been used to send the electronic message.
Depute Fiscal Anne MacDonald asked Police Scotland senior technical auditor Mark Cunningham-Dickie if Mr Hetherington would have had his own work ID number and if his computer would.
He replied: “Yes, they would have.”
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But defence agent John Mcleod argued there was no case to answer, saying: “(The complainer) has indicated she had suspicions that her social media was hacked but there is no evidence of it happening, let alone that it was Mr Hetherington responsible.”
Referring to the electronic message, Mr Mcleod added: “Having heard the evidence, we cannot be clear any such complaint could have been made.”
Sheriff William Summers agreed.
Hetherington, whose address was given in court papers as Willowbank Road, Aberdeen, was found not guilty of stalking the woman by accessing her social media accounts without her consent and contacting her employer to make work-related allegations about her.
Sheriff Summers said: “I’m not satisfied that the evidence is sufficient to implicate the accused, as the evidence shows it was possible for someone else to access the account from which the electronic message was sent.”