CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Police officer jailed for helping cocaine lawyer turns his life around

Cleaning business success followed prison ordeal

23 February, 2017 — By William McLennan

Former police officer Aaron Evans-Keady

A POLICE officer who was jailed for helping a woman escape charges after she was found in possession of cocaine has said “the whole experience changed me for the better”.

Aaron Evans-Keady was handed a two-year sentence in May 2013 after pleading guilty to conspiring to pervert the course of justice by falsifying a negative drug test while on duty at Kentish Town police station.

Speaking publicly about his experience for the first time, the 30-year-old, who has re-invented himself as a successful business owner since his release, told the New Journal: “I definitely got something out of the experience, despite how horrendous it was. To be honest, I’m happier now than I ever was then.”

On foot patrol in Camden Town in January 2012, Mr Evans-Keady encountered what he believed to be a drug deal as he saw a woman “all dressed up nice, obviously on a night out, meeting up with some little lad in trackies”.

He stopped them and called for back-up, before carrying out a drug search. To his frustration, the suspected dealers were clean, but the woman was in possession of three wraps and was taken back to Holmes Road station under arrest. It was then that Mr Evans-Keady began to feel uncomfortable with the situation. “I found out that she was an American girl, she was working over here on a visa, she was a solicitor,” he said. “It didn’t really seem fair. If she get’s charged she’s going to lose her job, she’s going to get deported.”

Mr Evans-Keady and his colleague, Keiran Cross, a civilian detention officer, agreed that, despite tests showing she was in possession of 1.65g of cocaine, they would return a negative result.

While he pleaded guilty to the charges at Southwark Crown Court, Mr Evans-Keady maintains that he did not attempt to persuade Mr Cross to provide fake test results, insisting he was merely sharing his misgivings about ruining a young woman’s life.

Their crime came to light when Mr Cross confided in a colleague. Mr Evans-Keady was arrested two days later and spent 18 months awaiting trial, during which time he suffered depression, anxiety and panic attacks, he said. “You can imagine, when you have no idea what’s going on and what’s coming, how scary that can be,” he added.

When his day in court finally came, he entered a guilty plea and was taken straight to Wandsworth Prison after sentencing – three days before he was due to celebrate his first wedding anniversary with husband Brandon.

Mr Cross, who had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, walked free from the court with a 12-month suspended sentence.


Mr Evans-Keady married his partner Brandon while awaiting trial

Describing his first night at the west London prison, Mr Evans-Keady said: “It was like, ex-police officer, gay, in prison – this isn’t going to go well.” His identity was kept hidden with a fake name and guards decided to move him to “solitary” where he was locked in his cell all day, except to collect meals, wash and take 20 minutes’ exercise.

After a month he was transferred to HMP Ford, an open prison in West Sussex, where life became easier. It was here that he first had the idea for his company, The Candyman Cleaning Co Ltd, during an eight-week business studies course.

In August 2013, following a High Court appeal, Mr Evans-Keady’s sentence was cut in half. He was released in September after four-and-a-half months behind bars and quickly set about building his new life.

Within days of leaving prison he had enrolled on a Prince’s Trust business course and by October the company was incorporated. Business began to pick up by the end of that year and in 2014 he was a finalist at the Prince’s Trust Enterprise awards.

Today, the firm has nine employees and a healthy annual turnover, while himself Mr Evans-Keady volunteers as a mentor with the Prince’s Trust. He said: “Prison will do one of two things to you: it will make you or it will break you. Obviously I was not going to let it break me.”

 

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