A convicted drug dealer’s girlfriend who infiltrated London Metropolitan Police in order to uncover the identity of a witness hiding in the witness protection programme, has been jailed for five years.
Lydia Lauro, 33, got a job as a civilian custody officer at Police Station, Hammersmith, London just months after her lover, Leon De St Aubin, 38, was convicted of murdering a man in an alleged drugs feud.
She immediately unleashed her plan by seducing police colleague, Hayden Cheremeh, 36, who she persuaded to give her access a secured database in order to fish out the identity of a secret witness who had given evidence in her incarcerated boyfriend’s murder trial.
The besotted Cheremeh, agreed to help her in return for sexual favours. He was also jailed for five years.
The pair made over 200 searches as they scoured the police database for information on the witness known as Sam Richmond. More damaging to their defense is the fact that the pair even sent screen shots from the computer to her boyfriend’s lawyer.
St Aubin was jailed for 30-years alongside former public schoolboy Rupert Ross, 34, in 2011 after being convicted of murdering 20-year-old Austin Bruce outside Wandsworth Prison in May 2009.
But he was still awaiting trial when Lauro applied for a job with the Metropolitan Police, and failed to disclose their relationship.
Once she started working for the force she approached Cheremeh, who was able to access police records, and offered him sexual favours in exchange for his help.
Cheremeh admitted allowing Lauro to use his passwords, but claimed he did not know that the witness she was looking for had been granted anonymity.
Sentencing both to five years each, Judge Anthony Morris said: “Both Lauro and Cheremeh knew they were required to maintain the highest standards of integrity when working for the Met and not to make unauthorised use of information contained on Met [police] databases.”
Leon De St Aubin was jailed for 30-years after being convicted of his part in a drug trafficking related murder
Judge Morris described Ross and De St Aubin as the “driving force” behind Lauro and Cheremeh’s crimes.
He said: “‘There was a danger not only of this witness’s identity being revealed but of the wrong women being identified and the danger this posed to all such a women.’
He added: “There’s no evidence that anyone has been caused death or serious injury to date but it must have been very worrying to that woman believed by Lauro to be Sam Richmond to know she had been searched.
“This has the capacity to damage public confidence in the police to get and hold information securely and to discourage witnesses who may only be prepared to give evidence under the condition of anonymity.”
While Lauro and Cheremeh were convicted of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office, Ross’s mother, Diana Lank, 60, a wealthy businesswoman, was cleared after insisting she had simply been investigating whether her son had been the victim of a miscarriage of justice.
Rupert’s mom, Diana Lank got away without sanction
Ross was a former pupil at Dulwich college and the grandson of a retired Cambridge don and art restorer, while his aunt was an attorney, but preferred a life of crime on the streets of London.
Mrs Lank admitted persuading Lauro to help her track down the anonymous witness but two separate juries failed to reach verdicts in her case and the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to seek a third trial.