A FORMER police officer who sparked a major investigation after claiming he was confronted by a lone gunman at his Fermanagh home has admitted perverting the course of justice.

37-year-old Craig Moffitt, with an address given as PSNI Mahon Road, Portadown, admitted claiming a woman had informed him that a named man had “arranged to have him done in”.

The offending occurred between December 29, 2019, and January 3, 2020.

Appearing via sight link at a sitting of Dungannon Crown Court in Newry, he spoke only to confirm his identity and to plead guilty to the single charge.

Judge Brian Sherrard decided pre-sentence reports were required given the nature of the offending.

He remanded Moffitt on continuing bail of £500 to appear for sentencing on May 24.

An attempted murder investigation was immediately launched during the early hours of January 2, 2020, in Kesh, which resulted in the arrest of a male, who was later released without charge.

The high-profile incident drew widespread condemnation, including in the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council Chamber with one member pointing to the “harm and destruction” the perpetrators had in their minds when the attack was carried out.

One councillor referred to: “A horrendous attack on a serving police officer which has left a community in shock and very angry.”

Another said: “Nobody wants to return to a time when we are worried about noises outside of our homes at night. To go there in the dead of night with a shotgun has to be condemned by all.”

At the time the PSNI said a lone gunman dressed entirely in black pointed a shotgun directly at the officer.

He raised the alarm after allegedly noticing movement outside his home and on opening the door to check encountered the masked male.

The gun, it was claimed, failed to fire and the male fled on foot over fields in the direction of a football club.

Police attended the scene stating: "Organised criminal elements may be responsible."

Within hours, a Detective Chief Inspector confirmed a 37-year-old male had been arrested.

She told a news conference: “We firmly believe that this disturbing incident was a failed attempt to kill a local police officer. There are no words to describe those who would creep through the dark of night with nothing but death and destruction on their minds.

“Their actions stand in stark contrast to those officers, including their intended target, who every day police our communities with dignity, respect and courtesy.”

Assuring the investigation would be “thorough and robust”, the detective added police were keeping an open mind as to the motivation behind the attack, however, a primary line of inquiry was that organised criminal elements may have been responsible.

However, the male was swiftly released on bail pending further enquiries.

It was later discovered the investigation was quietly closed and the arrested male was no longer suspected of involvement.

A PSNI spokesperson said: "Enquiries into the attempted murder investigation have concluded and the matter closed pending any further evidence. The man arrested following this incident is no longer a subject of this investigation.”

Separately, it emerged the officer in question had been leading an investigation into a case of perverting the course of justice at the time of the alleged incident.

He was subsequently replaced and it was later confirmed he was no longer a serving officer.