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Fast-food boss ‘erased CCTV to protect lover’
4:00pm Thursday 31st May 2012 in News
THE assistant manager of McDonald’s in the Cross, Worcester, deliberately deleted CCTV footage of a violent incident to protect a member of the door staff who was her boyfriend, a jury was told.
Police had received a complaint from a customer of alleged “rough handling” in the early hours.
But Sarah Haycox, employed by the firm for 12 years, claimed to an officer sent to make inquiries that she was twice unable to log into the camera system, said prosecutor Peter Grice.
When PC Tracy Swift returned to the restaurant four days later, she discovered that vital CCTV footage had been deleted.
Mr Grice said footage filmed before 5am on April 1 last year was missing and said: “The only explanation is that this material was deliberately deleted.
“Operating the system was the defendant. It was her hand on the keyboard.
“The intention must have been to frustrate the police investigation.
"She was having a casual sexual relationship with one of the doormen. She had an interest in protecting him.”
Haycox, aged 32, of Magdala Court, the Butts, Worcester, denies perverting the course of justice by deleting footage which had been requested by police conducting an investigation.
Police attended the restaurant after a complaint was made at 2.30am.
But Haycox was “a bit reluctant” when asked by PC Swift to see the CCTV footage, said Mr Grice.
Inside the manager's office, she made two attempts to log in but may have been “stalling” after claiming the password was not working and after two attempts to get into the CCTV system, said she had a queue of customers.
The officer returned to McDonald’s on April 5 after an allegation of assault had been made against a doorman.
But after discovering that the CCTV password was written on a piece of paper under a computer monitor, PC Swift was told that the footage she needed had been deleted.
McDonald’s manager Zaheer Mumtaz agreed during cross-examination that the password was insecure and could have been used by anyone.
But he said footage essential to the police had not been lost before.
Defence counsel Nick Roberts said at the time Haycox was ill with shingles. She did not accept she logged on to the CCTV and was unable to recall who did.
Mr Roberts said Haycox accepted she had a “casual sexual relationship” with one of the doormen. He described it as “her bit on the side to fulfil a need”.
Haycox accepted she was the person with the finger on the CCTV button that night. The trial continues.