Met Police detective guilty of city hostel assault

Andrew Begley leaves Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Picture: Toby Williams
Andrew Begley leaves Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Picture: Toby Williams
Have your say

A METROPOLITAN Police detective attacked a woman in a hostel after getting so drunk on a stag do he went back to the wrong room.

Andrew Begley’s career now hangs in the balance following a night out of shame where he admitted dowing seven pints before heading back to the accommodation he had booked.

He ended up in a room that had been booked by a group of students on a visit to the Scottish Parliament and – slurring his words – flashed his warrant card at them after they tried to reason with him that he was in the wrong room at the Cowgate Tourist Hostel.

During the confrontation the Detective Constable grabbed Sinead Varley by the throat and pushed her against a door when she demanded he left.

DC Begley, 33, was found guilty of assault at Edinburgh Sheriff Court after his claim that he acted in self-defence was dismissed. Defence advocate Shelagh McCall said it was “highly likely” that her client would now be sacked after an “unblemished” nine-year career with the force.

The court heard that Begley travelled to Edinburgh with university friends for the stag do, quickly checked into the hostel and went straight to a nearby pub.

Begley, a CID detective in the Richmond and Twickenham borough, admitted having seven pints before going back to the hostel at around 2am.

After being unable to get inside, the shamed policeman found a door ajar at a side entrance. He got into the room where the group of politics students were staying while on a field trip.

Almost immediately, they returned to find Begley inside.

He claimed it was his room and showed his warrant card. Student Daniel Clifford asked him to leave and when a frightened Ms Varley shouted at him, the officer assaulted her. Police were called and Begley, who was found sitting downstairs, said: “You’ll be looking for me.”

Sheriff Nigel Ross said the £39k-a-year officer’s actions were “down to drink”.

He said: “There is no doubt about your condition. You admitted to having seven pints. Sinead Varley gave evidence that she found you in the room speaking to yourself and not making sense. I have no reason to think you were anything other than confused and baffled.”

Sheriff Ross accepted that Begley had “no time to familiarise” himself with the hostel and had a “genuine belief” he was in the right room, but rejected the self-defence claim.

He said: “I did not accept that you ever thought you were reasonably or honestly in danger. If you had been sober then the matter would have been sorted out.”

Begley, of Ashford in Middlesex, had denied assaulting Ms Varley on March 3 last year. Ms McCall said her client, who is married with no children, had commendations as an officer. She said: “The consequence is that he’s highly likely to lose his job.”
Sheriff Ross fined Begley £400. Speaking after yesterday’s court heairng a Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said: “A misconduct process will now follow.”

Begley declined to comment.