Dominic Cummings is under pressure to explain himself after new witnesses claimed they spotted him on a SECOND coronavirus lockdown trip.
Boris Johnson's right-hand man admitted travelling once to Durham at the height of the covid crisis but categorically denied making a second visit.
But now two new witnesses who allege they spotted him in the North East of England have claimed officers did not properly investigate their case, reports The Mirror.
Dave and Clare Edwards have complained to the police watchdog about Durham Police’s inquiry into their allegations.
They submitted an official complaint to the Independent Office for Police Conduct on Wednesday about the local force’s investigation.
They are among four witnesses who told a joint police probe they believe they saw Cummings in County Durham on the morning of April 19.
Cummings admitted driving 260 miles with his wife, who had symptoms, and son to self-isolate at his parents’ home on March 27 at the height of the lockdown.
During their two-week stay the family took a day-trip to Barnard Castle, 30 miles away, on April 12, which he later claimed was to test his eye-sight.
But in an extraordinary press conference in the No 10 garden, he denied claims by another witness that he was in Durham on April 19, saying he had photos and data on his phone to prove it.
A No 10 spokesman said on Thursday: “Durham Constabulary have made clear they are not taking any further action against Mr Cummings and that by locating himself at his father’s premises he did not breach the regulations.
“The Prime Minister has said he believes Mr Cummings behaved reasonably and he considers the matter closed.”
The latest revelation puts pressure on Mr Cummings to produce evidence that proves he was in London, and not Durham, on April 19.
It also raises further questions about the Prime Minister’s decision to back him after it was revealed he broke the Government’s own rules, prompting public outcry and damaging confidence in lockdown restrictions.
Clare Edwards, a nurse practitioner, and her Conservative-voting husband Dave, who works in manufacturing, reported their alleged sighting to Durham Police in May.
It came after an initial witness, who first got in touch with the Daily Mirror on April 19, claimed that both he and his wife had spotted the PM’s top aide while walking in Houghall Woods that morning.
The man, who did not want to be named, said Mr Cummings, who was with a female companion, commented as he passed by: “Aren’t the bluebells lovely?”
Since then another new witness, who also wishes to remain anonymous, claims they saw the No 10 aide and his wife walking between the local beauty spot and the family home the same morning.
Another individual subsequently told the Guardian they believe they saw Mr Cummings on Hampstead Heath in North London – a drive of less than four hours on a quiet lockdown Sunday - later that day.
Mr Cummings denies he was in Durham on April 19 and Durham Constabulary have seen insufficient evidence to support this allegation.
They concluded he may have committed a “minor breach” of the regulations when he drove to Barnard Castle on April 12 - also his wife’s birthday - but no further action would be taken.
The couple then put in a so-called Subject Access Request to establish how the force had handled their personal information - which they hoped might reveal how their complaint was followed up.
The details, heavily redacted and marked ‘official-sensitive’, eventually arrived last week but the couple, both 59, felt they showed their claims had not been taken seriously.
They have now written to the IOPC, which oversees the police complaints system in England, asking them to look into the force’s handling of their allegation.
They wrote: “Given the high profile nature of this issue it is inconceivable that this matter has not been followed up thoroughly.
“We have no personal issue with Mr Cummings or his family, but we do feel that Durham Police’s handling of our complaint is below the standard we would expect from our local constabulary.
“We ask that the IOPC investigate whether Durham Police acted thoroughly in their investigation of this matter.”
His wife called on the PM’s senior aide to release his evidence: “It would be great to see if he could produce anything. I just want the truth to be out there.”
A Durham Constabulary spokesman said: “As outlined in our statement of May 28, Durham Constabulary carried out an investigation into this matter led by a senior detective and found insufficient evidence to support the allegation”.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror, the couple said they had been “shocked and surprised” to see the man they believed to be Mr Cummings among a group of five adults and a child by the side of the path.
Mr Edwards, who works for a local company which supplied goods to Nightingale Hospitals, said: “He was the dead image of Dominic Cummings. He was standing over a small child on a bike.
“As I got through the clearing I said to my wife, ‘Did you see Dominic Cummings there?’ If it wasn’t him he would win the Dominic Cummings look-a-like award.
“He was identical to the TV footage – dark beanie hat, dark-rimmed glasses. If it was mistaken identity, the police could have ruled that out.”
Mrs Edwards, a nurse and care home worker for 35 years, said she told her husband: “‘Oh no it can’t be’. And I looked at him and there was this man who looked just like Dominic Cummings.
“He had a beanie hat, was wearing glasses, he was tall and angular.
"I was so convinced. But I thought no it can’t possibly be him, he’s in London and we’re in lockdown.”
The mother-of-three claims: “I am 100% certain it was Dominic Cummings. The way he looked – I just know it was him”.
Her husband said: “I’m not politically motivated, I have nothing against Cummings.
"But we think what we saw was important given the circumstances of the lockdown.”
The date stuck in their heads because it was the day after their son’s birthday which they celebrated with a ‘Zoom party’ and quiz because of lockdown restrictions.
They also had a time-stamped geo-located photograph, seen by the Mirror, that Mrs Edwards took of the woods moments before they claimed they saw the group.
But it was not until the couple heard the PM dismiss reports of a second trip to Durham as “palpably false” at a No 10 press conference on May 24 that they decided to contact police.
Shortly afterwards the fourth witness claimed they had also seen Mr Cummings and a woman the same morning walking between Houghall Woods and the family home.
They made a digital record of the location of the sighting which they shared with friends at the time.
They told the Mirror: “I do follow politics so I know what people look like.”
Asked if they were sure it was Mr Cummings, they added: “We know his parents do live locally so we have recognised them before in the local area. I would recognise him again.”
“At first I could not quite believe that I had seen him. I thought ‘why would he be up here?’ But I posted about it on the day. I was sure about it at the time”.
In the Downing Street Garden, Mr Cummings told reporters: “There is a particular report that I returned there on the 19 April. Photos and data on my phone prove this to be false.
“And local CCTV, if it exists, would also prove that I’m telling the truth that I was in London on that day. I was not in Durham.”
The top aide refused to apologise for his two-week visit to the North East saying he and his wife thought they might need childcare for their four-year-old son in case they both fell ill.
Mr Cummings suggested witnesses who claimed they had seen him in Houghall Woods were mistaken and said he had walked in woodland during his earlier self-isolation but on his parents’ land.
He said he returned to London on 13 April but did not clarify whether his wife or his child were with him.
“We returned to London on the evening of Monday 13 April, Easter Monday,” he said.
Mr Cummings added: “I believe that in all circumstances I behaved reasonably and legally, balancing the safety of my family and the extreme situation in No 10 and the public interest in effective Government to which I could contribute.”
Later that week, Mr Johnson was challenged by MPs on the powerful Commons liaison committee over whether he had seen the evidence but claimed “a lot of the allegations turned out to be false”.
After avoiding the question three times, he eventually admitted that he had, but refused to pass the evidence on to the Cabinet Secretary to investigate, adding that it was “time to move on”.