A police officer who claimed in a drunken rage to have witnessed the Plebgate row was jailed for 12 months today for misconduct in a public office.
Pc Keith Wallis, 53, of West Drayton, west London, sent an email to Conservative deputy chief whip John Randall, who was his MP, wrongly claiming that he had seen what happened as Andrew Mitchell left Downing Street on September 19, 2012.
Mr Mitchell, then chief whip, had been involved in a heated confrontation with another police officer, Toby Rowland, after he was refused permission to cycle through the main gate.
Wallis, who worked at Metropolitan Police diplomatic protection group, was moved to act by "rumour and gossip" about the incident in which Mr Mitchell was accused of calling the officer a "Pleb".
Emotions were already running high following the killing of two female officers, Pc Fiona Bone and Pc Nicola Hughes, in Manchester the day before, the Old Bailey was told.
The officer, who was just one year from retirement after a 30-year career, was also intoxicated and suffering from mental illness at the time, the court was told.
Following a month of intense media interest in the story, Mr Mitchell, who always denied using the word "Pleb", was forced to resign his post.
Defending, Patrick Gibbs QC appealed for leniency for Wallis who had admitted the off ence.
He said Wallis was in no way part of a conspiracy against Mr Mitchell and there was no attempt to pervert the course of justice.
He said: "He would be the ideal scapegoat for more sophisticated men but sending him to prison would be to mistake this for what it is not."
But Mr Justice Sweeney dismissed his plea, telling Wallis his "devious" actions "fell far below the standards expected of a police officer".
Mr Sweeney said his actions not only had an impact on Mr Mitchell but also had "a significant impact on public trust and confidence in the integrity of police officers".
In a victim impact statement Mr Mitchell described his devastation at Wallis's false accusations which "gave traction" to the story in Downing Street.
He wrote: "The existence of the emails contributed to my acute demoralisation and sense of isolation. They were therefore a contributory factor in the events which led to my resignation."