A Metropolitan Police 999 emergency call centre supervisor from Stevenage has been cleared of illegally looking up confidential police reports on a fatal stabbing.

Charlotte Servais, 33, of Stephenson Mews, told a Southwark Crown Court jury: "I wasn’t aware the access was unauthorised until all this situation."

Her three-day trial came to a conclusion when the jurors took less than two-and-a-half hours of deliberation to find her not guilty.

Ms Servais had pleaded not guilty to performing an unauthorised computer function between April 16 and 22, 2020 at the Metropolitan Police’s Central Communication Command in Peel Centre, Hendon - namely looking up information relating to a stabbing.

She was visiting her mother’s home in Roehampton on April 15, 2020 - the same day self-employed painter and decorator Ralph Gibson, 42, was fatally stabbed nearby.

Ms Servais, who began working at the 999 call centre in 2013, always admitted accessing the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD), even though the police investigation was not in her working area.

She told the trial she looked up the relevant CAD reports 12 times over the next four days "out of curiosity".

Her brother, Callum Servais, was later arrested by police, who searched the mother’s home, but he was released without charge.

Robinson Charles-Mario, 24, and Rudi Mitchell, 29, ended up being prosecuted at Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court in relation to the killing.

Ms Servais said the working culture at the 999 centre commonly saw staff accessing CAD reports when there was no real professional justification.

"It doesn’t make it right, but everybody does it," she told the jury from the witness box. "Because of the culture there, everybody does it."

She said she did not know rules surrounding CAD reports were identical to those related to making enquiries on the Police National Computer (PNC).

"I know not to go into the PNC to look at things you shouldn’t be looking at," she said.

"That was not my understanding of CADs because of the culture of that environment."

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Paul Casey told the jury: "She was employed by the Metropolitan Police as a civilian member of police staff at the Met’s Central Communication Command (MCC).

"The MCC handles emergency and non-emergency calls from the public and other agencies and despatches police units across London."

Ms Servais only has responsibility for north, central and west London and not south London, where the stabbing occurred, the trial was told.

"People who do these jobs are placed in a considerable position of trust," added Mr Casey. "She had a high degree of responsibility in fast-moving, potentially life-threatening incidents."

Ms Servais logged in and read four CAD reports relating to the investigation.

Mr Casey told the court: "There needs to be some reason in a professional role that justified access to the CAD system.  Access to the CAD system is a privilege.

"Simply browsing and looking out of nosiness or curiosity is prohibited.

"She looked at them over a number of days. There was no policing purpose to justify her looking at these reports."