A police officer lied on live radio about holding a dead child in his arms after the Manchester Arena bombings.

Lee Howard described how he arrived minutes after the deadly explosion to encounter the dead and dying strewn across the floor.

The 32-year-old recalled on BBC radio how he desperately tried to save the victims, Manchester Evening News reported.

Howard even appeared on the Stephen Nolan show on Radio Ulster talking about his experience.

However, it was revealed in Liverpool Crown Court today that he was lying.

The police officer made up his heroic actions
The police officer made up his heroic actions

Howard in fact arrived at the arena 80 minutes after the explosion along with colleagues, and was only deployed to the outer cordon.

His lies came to light during an investigation by his colleagues at Greater Manchester Police into his misuse of the force's computer systems.

The investigation was launched when the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland alerted GMB having found WhatsApp messages between a Northern Irish police officer and Howard.

His home was raided by the GMP Anti-Corruption Unit on June 21, 2018, and his phone and electronic devices were seized.

Eight charges being brought against him, with the first going back to just two months after he had joined the force from British Transport Police in 2017.

He was actually stationed on the out cordon
He was actually stationed on the out cordon

Detectives found WhatsApp conversations Howard had with his wife about a GMP officer whose son went to the school she worked at in Stockport.

Following the conversation, Howard accessed the force computer to get information about the officer.

He sent this to his wife and in the messages “said that he was like AC12, which is the fictional unit from the TV series Line of Duty”, said Robert Dudley, prosecuting.

Later in the same month, in further messages to her, he told her personal details about a suspected robber and “disclosed personal and disparaging details” about the female victim.

As well as illegitimately accessing the computer system twice more, in June 2018 he sent images of facial injuries suffered by a historical alleged rape victim to a man over WhatsApp.

He also accessed the profile of a 15-year-old and store it on his phone, joked about showing a "hilarious mugshot of a kid in custody” over WhatsApp and looked at the profile of a nine-year-old in foster care.

After chatting on WhatsApp with his wife, he identified the child’s natural mother and her photograph.

Howard went on radio to discuss his so-called heroics
Howard went on radio to discuss his so-called heroics

“As part of the conversation with his wife the defendant messaged, ‘Don’t want social worker finding out I’m nosing x’,” said Mr Dudley

"He then provided his wife with the criminal record details of the child’s mother."

When interviewed about the offences which spanned 15 months Howard, of Zorbit Mews, Hyde, Tameside, made no comment.

However, he pleaded guilty to eight offences involving unauthorised access to computer data and disclosing personal data.

Howard was not jailed by a judge who was told he was mentally ill at the time.

Peter Doyle, QC, defending, said, “This offending occurred when he was unwell.”

He had been “a young officer, very much an ambassador for the police.”

After the offences came to light he was taken off front-line duties and put on back office work “where ironically his time was spent dealing with computer and data.

Howard pleaded guilty to eight offences
Howard pleaded guilty to eight offences

"There have no occasions to be concerned about the way he performed these back office duties," Mr Doyle continued.

“He is responding properly to medication and management but is still unwell.”

Mr Doyle said that the former soldier, who has not been suspended by the force, will face a meeting with the Chief Constable.

“The likelihood is this officer will either face dismissal or in recognition of is mental illness, which we submit drove this conduct, a requirement to resign. This has less stigma but same consequences.”

He said that his “bizarre behaviour and engaging in irrational banter may have been a response to pressures at home and wider afield.”

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Judge Menary told Howard: “Permission to access systems carries a high level of trust and anything that threatens the integrity of the systems is bound to be regarded as serious.

"It undermines public confidence in the police ability to safeguard sensitive and personal information.”

He said the explanation for “this bizarre behaviour”, including passing on information which may have been “completely inaccurate, false and made up by you may lie in the fact that for some significant time you have been suffering from mental illness.”

The judge added he accepted that Howard had not benefited in any way from his behaviour and imposed a two year community order.

He also ordered him to carry out 150 days unpaid work and five days rehabilitation activities and to pay £750 towards prosecution costs.”