Councillor at centre of scandal hits back

Cllr Robert Bleakley
Cllr Robert Bleakley

THE Wigan councillor accused of making “vile” comments to police officers has hit back at “false and malicious allegations” by the local chief of police.

Coun Robert Bleakley has lodged a formal complaint to Greater Manchester Police about borough commander Chief Supt Shaun Donnellan.

The controversial independent member for Tyldesley was earlier this week accused of making offensive references, understood to 
relate to the murders of two police officers by notorious killer Dale Cregan, a claim he categorically denies.

Chief Supt Donnellan condemned the comments as revealing the councillor to be a “thoroughly unpleasant and nasty character” and referred the incident to Wigan Council bosses calling for “the strongest sanctions”.

But Coun Bleakley has filed his own complaint against the top cop to chief constable Sir Peter Fahy on a number of grounds including misconduct in public office, harassment and making false allegations.

He has also complained about the force’s failure to satisfactorily probe death threats against him and incidents of vandalism against his property.

The complaint reads: “Chief Supt Donnellan has not only made false allegations against me but also, by his statements to the press, has appointed himself as the accuser, jury and judge and has prejudiced any possibility of a fair hearing for me.

“He has also ignored or displayed ignorance of the fact that Wigan Council have no jurisdiction whatsoever in this matter.”

The former Lib Dem representative has also hit out at Chief Supt Donnellan for referring to him as “Bleakley”, omitting his councillor title.

His alleged comments followed last week’s tempestuous council meeting when he accused television news crews of harassment for trailing him in and out of Leigh Town Hall.

Officers were sent to his home to investigate the complaint when the comments are said to have been made to the attending pair of officers.

Chief Supt Donnellan said they had been uttered “to pour scorn on the plight of innocent victims of serious criminals.”

Coun Bleakley told the Evening Post he did not say anything that could be interpreted as offensive, dismissed the allegations as “nonsense” and added he had a witness to the discussion.

A spokesman for GMP said neither Chief Supt Donnellan nor the force would comment on the counter-complaint but confirmed it had been received and would be investigated.

The original complaint was referred to Wigan Council with leader Lord Smith vowing: “We will ensure that this complaint is dealt with through our standards process and support the police with any further action they wish to take.”

PC Nicola Hughes, 23, and PC Fiona Bone, 32, were shot in 2012 by Dale Cregan in Mottram, Greater Manchester, while he was at large after committing two other murders.