A ‘Walter Mitty’ police chief who wore a Falklands War medal even though he was only 15 at the time of the conflict ‘exaggerated his rank, length of service and general Royal Naval achievements’, prior to becoming a police officer, a misconduct hearing was told today.

Northamptonshire chief constable Nick Adderley was accused of ‘stolen valour’ last September for pinning the 1982 campaign medal to his chest – after it emerged he had only joined the Royal Navy two-and-a-half years after the ten-week Falklands conflict.

But a misconduct panel heard the South Atlantic medal he later claimed had been gifted by his brother, Richard, ‘appears to have been a false medal’, and suggested Richard had only applied for it in October last year, the month the chief constable was suspended.

In his opening statement, John Beggs KC, counsel for the Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (NPFCC) Danielle Stone, said Adderley ‘has been photographed on many occasions since about 2009 or 2010 wearing military medals’ or their ribbons.

These were ‘false legends’, he said, which gave ‘the impression that he had served (in the Falklands War)’.

Northamptonshire chief constable Nick Adderley, (pictured, centre, leaving the misconduct hearing in Northampton today) who wore a Falklands War medal even though he was only 15 at the time of the conflict 'exaggerated his rank, length of service and general Royal Naval achievements', a police misconduct hearing was told today

Northamptonshire chief constable Nick Adderley, (pictured, centre, leaving the misconduct hearing in Northampton today) who wore a Falklands War medal even though he was only 15 at the time of the conflict ‘exaggerated his rank, length of service and general Royal Naval achievements’, a police misconduct hearing was told today

Adderley was accused of 'stolen valour' last September after pinning the 1982 campaign medal to his chest – after it emerged he had only joined the Royal Navy two years after the ten-week Falklands conflict

Adderley was accused of ‘stolen valour’ last September after pinning the 1982 campaign medal to his chest – after it emerged he had only joined the Royal Navy two years after the ten-week Falklands conflict

The hearing was told that matters came to light last July when an ex-wife of Adderley's contacted the office of the NPFC over media coverage suggesting Adderley had served in the Royal Navy for ten years and was a Falklands veteran

The hearing was told that matters came to light last July when an ex-wife of Adderley’s contacted the office of the NPFC over media coverage suggesting Adderley had served in the Royal Navy for ten years and was a Falklands veteran

Mr Beggs said the ‘provenance’ of his brother’s South Atlantic medal was in question, something which is due to be explored when the hearing resumes tomorrow.

The panel was told of a string of ‘untrue’ statements made by Adderley or published with his apparent blessing in documents ranging from his application form to become Chief Constable in 2018, his curriculum vitae from the same period, press releases and even internal police video blogs.

Mr Beggs said Adderley, 57, had referred to himself variously as a ‘Lieutenant and Commander who had been commended, when neither were true’.

Mr Beggs said in reality, the £165,000-a-year chief constable was still an Able-Seaman – the lowest enlisted rank in the Royal Navy – when he was discharged in December 1986, just over two years after enlisting.

The hearing at Northampton Saints RFC heard Adderley also claimed to have attended the Britannia Royal Navy College in Dartmouth for four years when in fact he applied and was rejected.

‘He described himself as having seen active service,’ Mr Beggs said. ‘He didn’t see active service. 

‘He described himself as a military negotiator in Haiti.’ (during anti-government protests that led to the overthrow of President Jean-Claude Duvalier, dubbed Baby Doc, in February 1986).

Mr Beggs said Adderley was ‘never in Haiti and was not a negotiator…as he was subsequently to admit.’

Northamptonshire Chief Constable Nick Adderley (pictured) arriving at the Northampton Saints ground on May 28 for a gross misconduct disciplinary hearing

Northamptonshire Chief Constable Nick Adderley (pictured) arriving at the Northampton Saints ground on May 28 for a gross misconduct disciplinary hearing

Chief Constable Nick Adderley has been accused of exaggerating his achievements during his military career

Chief Constable Nick Adderley has been accused of exaggerating his achievements during his military career

The hearing was told that matters came to light last July when an ex-wife of Adderley’s contacted the office of the NPFCC over media coverage suggesting Adderley had served in the Royal Navy for ten years and was a Falklands veteran. ‘She said this was not the case,’ Mr Beggs said, ‘Not least because Mr Adderley was only 15 years old during the Falklands War.’ 

An investigator carried out a ‘scoping’ exercise into the complaint, in which Adderley initially doubled down on many of the false claims. The investigator concluded that it was a misconduct matter.

In an interview with the police watchdog, Adderley later explained his ten year naval service by ‘lumping in his years’ in the sea cadets from the age of ten, which Mr Beggs said was ‘an embarrassing explanation’.

When asked why he claimed on his CV that he had leadership experience in the military as well as police, Adderley claimed his ‘leadership journey’ started as leader cadet at the age of 15.

Mr Beggs said Adderley was later to suggest that by ‘commended’, he ‘meant he had been told he had done a good job’.

The barrister said Adderley sought to explain the ‘falsehoods’ in his CV ‘by (him) being lazy and sloppy’.

He also suggested that during this ‘unhappy case’, Adderley may seek to blame reporting of his supposed military service, including in Haiti, as being ‘misreporting’ by parts of the media.

‘We will invite the panel to conclude it is risible to conclude he didn’t notice the misreporting,’ Mr Beggs said.

He said the case was about whether Adderley had over a period of years ‘deliberately advanced a false narrative’ to exaggerate his service and achievements.

Chief Constable Nick Adderley arriving at Northampton Saints Stadium today, for his three-day misconduct hearing

Chief Constable Nick Adderley arriving at Northampton Saints Stadium today, for his three-day misconduct hearing

In an opening statement the hearing heard how Adderley had referred to himself as a lieutenant and Commander who had been commended, when neither were true

In an opening statement the hearing heard how Adderley had referred to himself as a lieutenant and Commander who had been commended, when neither were true

He said Adderley’s false claims around the Falklands War in particular had caused ‘deep offence’ to those who truly did serve in the ten-week conflict, where 255 met their deaths. Mr Beggs said: ‘To claim you served your country when in fact you were 15 years old is an egregious thing to have done by any person, let alone a senior police officer.’

At the start of the hearing, Matthew Holdcroft, counsel for Adderley, said he denies gross misconduct and acting without integrity, but admits a breach of standards in terms of duties and responsibilities.

The three-day hearing continues tomorrow.

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