Dodgy Devon detective Philip Francis Diss, corrupt and a corrupter. Chief detective on Genette Tate case...

Here’s Part 1 featuring Devon’s Dodgy Detectives. As we point out, many good Policeman were, and are, involved in local policing. Sadly, they have been very badly let down.

Here is a press cutting that might help your understanding of this article:

Newspaper article nailing Detective Diss and CID officer, Robert Cornish, one of his accomplices.

Meanwhile, read the following and weep with indignation…….


To read the long and obsequious eulogies to the late Phil Diss, a well-known local detective on the Devon and Cornwall Police force, you’d think that he was somewhere near knighthood, or sainthood.

But you’d be wrong. He started policing in Exeter in 1977 and his career included major investigations into the Kate Bushell and Genette Tate cases. Diss retired in September 2001 to a great fanfare, particularly from his long-time friends and allies at the Express and Echo newspaper, the journal that has done more than any other to hinder any genuine investigation into the Tate affair.

One of our investigators first got the idea that Diss was rotten as early as 1983. During a meeting with Detective Tony Furzeland and Diss at a local pub, better known as a copper’s hang out, our man spoke at length to the policemen about the Tate case. Furzeland, an all-round good copper, knew the simple truth about the case as soon as he’d interviewed Michael Bastin (Ian Bealey’s friend and confidant from his younger school days) in Australia, where the Exeter man had resettled in 1982.

To recap, Furzeland, and his colleague Don Crabb, travelled to Australia to interview Michael Bastin about Bealey’s pre-knowledge of the August 1978 crime. He knew of the incident up to an hour before the Police did. What we have not mentioned thus far is that Bealey, upon learning of Michael’s brave and upright decision to tell what he knew, was desperate to talk with Michael…for perhaps obvious reasons…

So, over drinks at that popular Policeman’s pub in ’83, Furzeland listens with great intent and interest as our man goes over the many details and facts he knows about the case. Later, when our man and Diss were alone Diss says, “you know, what would you think if we can’t get anywhere with this? Sometimes it just doesn’t work out.”

Yet again we find damning evidence that a small circle of influential people within the Devon and Cornwall police knew the case was “doomed to fail”. Because they’d made sure, and would continue to ensure, that no progress would be made.

Our man spoke to Tony Furzeland just a few weeks before his retirement and Furzeland was still receiving assurances that the Genette affair was “being taken care of upstairs” and that “progress was being made.”

Furzeland really wanted to crack the Genette case. Indeed, he already HAD cracked it. It was solved nearly 30 years ago and yet there has not, to date, been an arrest, or trial, or a conviction. Ian Bealey, meanwhile, who was abandoned by his handlers after his failed attempts to cover up his abduction and murder of Tiverton schoolgirl Virginia Maunder in February 1981, was kept in prison for 27 years; much longer than a murderer, even a cold-blooded one, might realistically expect to find him or herself under lock and key. Today, on the other hand, Ian Bealey is as free as a bird and walking the streets of nearby Devon coast towns where children enjoy holidaying with their parents.

Phil Diss, meanwhile, who died recently to yet more applause, thanks and hero worship from the Express and Echo, had more than a few skeletons in his closet. The fact that, as the Echo reported ad nauseam, Diss was, apparently, a “good family man” cannot explain away, or to any extent diminsh, certain troublesome, inconvenient facts that show his career in a somewhat darker light:

The newspaper report reproduced above (click on it for a larger, better view) was not taken from the Express and Echo (well they didn’t want to have to answer difficult questions about their less than objective reporting of local Police matters, now did they?), but from the Western Morning News. It is clear when it notes that, “Officers Face Charges of Taking Data”. The article reports on the activities of Philip Francis Diss, aged 54, and Alan Cornish (same age), both senior detectives, who had been arrested and charged with obtaining and leaking confidential details of criminal records and “procuring others to commit misconduct in public office.”

So, not only were they corrupt but attempted to corrupt others.

Diss, Cornish, and others, were arrested after a “wide-scale investigation” code-named Operation Reproof. It seems that Diss and Cornish had been leaking confidential data from the police service database, “for as little as £40 a go” according to information in the public domain.

Then there’s this shocking addendum, and still available on the ‘net by clicking below, highlighting more on the devious doings by Devon’s dodgy detectives:

And Diss was one of the main detectives investigating the Genette Tate affair. Remember the statements that went missing? The Gormans? The couple driving through Aylesbeare at the same time as the maroon triumph sped up Withen Lane towards them in the direction of the AI Unit and Exeter Airport? Do you remember the detectives that “strongly encouraged” local witnesses to change, modify or withdraw their statements that contradicted the official version of events? What about the claim that detectives that physically assaulted the innocent Tony Hammond, Genette’s young boyfriend?

Furthermore, some of the corruption unearthed relating to Diss involved major multimillion pound building projects. So, despite only ever reaching the rank of DC, Detective Constable, Diss had not a little power and influence. Given the alleged corruption within Devon and Cornwall police and their ability to turn a blind eye to shocking evidence of child abuse rife within East Devon in the mid to late 1970s it is no wonder that it was an independent watchdog (the PCA) that brought the detectives down.

Even more damning, perhaps, were attempts, by Diss, to totally mislead the public about the Genette Tate affair. We have the evidence:

As you, the reader and juror, will now know, a maroon car driven by a man closely matching Ian Bealey’s appearance, age and description in 1978 (and, as we have shown, more than prone to driving along the lanes of Devon he knew so well for lone female victims), was seen by at least four independent witnesses at the correct time on the afternoon of Saturday August 19th, 1978. A maroon car. THE very same maroon car subsequently seen in Wardrew Road, around the corner from Bealey’s address, in the St Thomas area of Exeter a few weeks following the events of 19th August.

 We know for sure that John Tate owned such a car at least until, according to Tania, the daughter he so appalling sexually abused, a couple of weeks before August 19th. This is the only car that, according to the farmer at Barton Hall Farm, where the Tate family lived at the time, John Tate had owned.

We know that Bealey was both a friend, and almost certainly some sort of relation, of Tate senior. Kathy Tate, John’s second wife, the wife who, by 1996 the Sunday Mirror was reporting, “wouldn’t touch him [Tate] with a bargepole” after his child abuse and charity conman activities had once again come to light, knew Bealey to be the killer (even if her former husband hadn’t wanted it to come out).

Detective Furzeland knew Bealey to be the killer. He was confident of a prosecution after his 1983 trip to Australia. However, and not for the first time, it seems that the Police higher-ups, with a possible assist from Detective Diss, were able to direct the enquiry in a totally false direction.

 The Express and Echo’s recent eulogy to “Old School Phil” shows Diss continuing a cover up. Remember the maroon Triumph, then read this:

Diss told the Echo, in an interview republished at the time of his death (2011), “We weren’t aware until long after Black lost his appeal against three murder convictions what vehicle he had in 1978. We found it to be a RED TRANSIT VAN – A SIMILAR ONE WAS SEEN SPEEDING THROUGH AYLESBEARE AT THE TIME OF THE ABDUCTION.” (Our emphasis.)

 No, Phil. You may be resting in peace but you’re lying and deceiving. It was, in fact, a MAROON TRIUMPH.

Just days after Genette's disappearance the Police knew which car they should be looking for. This adds to the significance of the sighting of the maroon car by four independent and credible witnesses and nails Detective Diss and his tale about another vehicle. Note, the photofit picture looks exactly as Ian Bealey did in August 1978 according to those who knew him at the time...

As Diss himself made clear, on various occasions, there is, and was, NO real evidence against Black. Even the Chief Constable admitted that the Devon and Cornwall Police has no evidence to the extent that “only an admission” would move things forward.

So in this simple example we see the bizarre deceptions of Devon’s Dodgy Detective in curious combination with Red Herring Ripper Robert Black, the man who was nowhere near Aylesbeare on the afternoon of August 19th, 1978.

Lies always come back to haunt you. Anybody who has read our factual description of the evidence so far can see that Phil Diss was trying to mislead the public right up until his death. For 28 years, from 1983 when we first came across him, he was sure that the Genette Tate would make no progress and in this small example we see one of the ways in which he moved things in a mistaken direction…

The Genette Tate affair is still, today, a stain on the force’s reputation and character because local people know what happened, know that the right questions weren’t asked and know that the true suspects were kept out of the picture. The decent detectives on the force appear to have been edged out or they just kept their heads down and waited for their retirements or, perhaps, a chance to move to another force. The good coppers who wanted to pursue Ian Bealey were unable to do so and were stopped from doing so.

Until the Genette Tate affair is properly investigated, and action taken to further question Ian Bealey, who is at large, and achieve Justice For Genette, our campaign will not cease.

 Justice must be done.