'Brothel cop' is returned for trial

A former award-winning Coleraine police offcer has been returned for trial charged in connection with a lucrative brothel running operation in Castlerock that was smashed by an undercover police operation over two years ago.

Former Constable Chris Murdoch, voted UK Community Police Offcer of the Year in 2006 for his outreach work with the Chinese community, will stand trial at Coleraine Crown Court next year.

On Friday, Antrim District Judge Desmond Perry ruled that having read the case papers the 43-year-old, whose address has been given as Coleraine Police Station, but who has since resigned from the force, that he has a case to answer in the higher court.

A full preliminary hearing into the case was to have been held at Antrim Magistrate's Court, but was not necessary after the former con-

stable agreed to the holding of a preliminary investigation which did not require the taking of witness statements.

Murdoch, allegedly caught in a police sting operation in June 2008, is accused of perverting the course of justice by doing "a series of

acts" in relation to the brothel.

Although no details were given to the court, which had been set up to hear from an alleged under-cover police offcer, the charge accuses

Murdoch of tipping off one of the prostitutes, with whom he was also allegedly having a relationship.

According to the charge, while working in the police Call Handling Offce, Murdoch allegedly received a telephone complaint by a person

calling himself 'Barney Glass', "in relation to two girls in an illegal suspected brothel in a fat opposite Bertha's, or Love's Bar, in Castlerock".

At an earlier court hearing, which granted "Mr Glass" anonymity, it was revealed this was a pseudonym being used by an undercover offcer working for the PSNI's Professional Standards Department.

On 10 June 2008, he allegedly made two calls to Murdoch's police station to complain about the suspected brothel.

According to the charge Murdoch faces, he failed to tell his sergeant about his "relationship with one of the said girls who lived in the flat", nor did he tell him about the telephone complaint, and that he also allegedly "made a telephone call to one of the girls despite having been instructed not to discuss any information

relating to the matter outside Coleraine PSNI call handling offce.

Murdoch, who was granted legal-aid for two counsel at his trial, was released on fresh bail of 500.