A former detective has been cleared of homophobic charges after calling a senior female officer a “dyke.”

Magistrates in Flint took just 40 minutes to clear John Atkinson, 45, of causing “harassment, distress or alarm” and asked why arresting officers, one of them a lesbian, had waited nearly six months to express “shock” at his comments.

The saga began when Mr Atkinson felt he was ignored by openly gay officer, Superintendent Michele Williams at a funeral.

They had worked together for 22 years, but Mr Atkinson believed Supt Williams, chairman of the race and diversity group for North Wales police, “totally ignored” him on two occasions, he said: “She knew that my 13-year-old son, George, had been killed by an air rifle, and she knew I’d been poorly since then, but she didn’t even have the decency to ask how my family was.”

The next day he launched a tirade of abuse on a police van, according to police officers, saying

“Where is your f***ing diversity Super, the f***ing diverse dyke? Where’s Michele?”

Five officers from the van arrested him and took him to Wrexham police station where he was kept overnight and charged with the public order offence of “using threatening, abusive or insulting words”.

The ex detective sergeant agreed he had used the word “dyke”, but said he only intended to elicit “a smile rather than a frown.” He said he had been treated “like a dog” at the station.

Pc Sarah Fellows, one of the officers in the van, told the court: “I myself am gay and I found the words ‘diverse dyke’ offensive, we felt he had to be arrested.”

However, she could not explain why she had failed to refer to her “shock” in her first two statements, while later making a further statement “with regard to my sexuality”.

Mr Atkinson of Pontblyddyn, near Mold said he regretted making the remark and is not homophobic, he was outraged that while he had been made the victim of a “politically correct” prosecution, Richard Brunstrom, chief constable of North Wales Police, had not even faced disciplinary action for referring to homosexuals as “queers”.

“This was all about using a hammer to crush a grape, and it was a misjudgement of the CPS to prosecute me. Fortunately the court has seen sense,” he said.