Married police officer jailed for meeting lover at her Kilburn flat while on duty

Ricci Giff was having an affair with Melissa Ramsden

Ricci Giff was having an affair with Melissa Ramsden - Credit: Archant

Ricci Giff bunked off work to carry out secret trysts with Melissa Ramsden

A married police officer who bunked off work to meet his lover at her Kilburn flat has been jailed for nine months.

Father-of-two Ricci Giff, 38, an armed diplomatic protection officer whose job included guarding Downing Street, left his patrol area checking some of London’s most sensitive buildings on three occasions in late 2011 to meet Melissa Ramsden, 37.

Southwark Crown Court heard on one of the occasions, Giff photographed his girlfriend naked and wearing his gun.

The trysts also included one meeting at the Peel Centre at the Metropolitan Police’s training centre in Hendon - five miles from his patrol area.

Others took place during night shifts at her flat, when he told his partner he was going to meet a friend in Paddington.

Giff, from Bedfordshire, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to three counts of misconduct in a public office.

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The court heard on one occasion his unattended police motorcycle was found outside Ms Ramsden’s flat by officers who raised the alarm in case he was in danger, only to see him come out and ride off.

Ms Ramsden, who worked for the Israeli government tourism office in the capital - part of Giff’s patrol route - committed suicide in December 2011.

He was not implicated in her death, the court heard, but photographs and text messages found by investigating officers on her phone revealed their relationship.

He was jailed for what Judge Anthony Pitts said was behaviour that could not be tolerated by an officer in such an important role.

Claire Howell, prosecuting, said: “There were large periods of time where he was trusted to be within the patrol area ready to respond if required.

“He was fully armed and supposed to be part of a high-profile unit guarding high-profile targets.

“He, more than anyone else, would have appreciated the potentially catastrophic results if anything had happened and there was a delay in the response time.”

The court also heard he met Ms Ramsden on other occasions, including one December 2011 shift when he was on duty outside Downing Street - but they were allowed because they happened during legitimate breaks in his 12-hour shifts.

After the Downing Street shift he went to her flat and it was then that she posed for photos, including one in which she was naked apart from Giff’s uniform utility belt, containing his firearm and Taser stun gun.

When they met at the Hendon police centre she signed in under a false name.

Ms Ramsden, who had a history of depression, was found dead at her flat on December 22, days after their last meeting.

She sent him a text message the day before, thanking him for “being loving”.

Their relationship was not the cause of her suicide, the court heard.

Richard Atchley, representing Giff, said he apologised for his actions, especially to his wife and colleagues for letting them down.

He said Giff had had a difficult childhood and could have led a life of crime but opted instead to join the police, where he had an exemplary career until his relationship with Miss Ramsden.

This career was over because of his “foolhardy” actions, he said.

“He has paid a high price for his foolish and unprofessional behaviour,” he added, saying Giff never missed a check during his motorcycle patrol in the capital.

Giff remains a police officer pending disciplinary proceedings, he said, which will see him sacked.