Police staff pay out for ‘torture’ of arrested shop boss

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Two members of police staff who twisted and grabbed the arms of a man in custody to make him answer questions have been ordered to pay him £100 in compensation.

David Healer screamed in pain as he was assaulted by police custody sergeant Stephen Harvey and civilian detention officer Michael Mount after his arrest in County Durham in March last year.

The attack was condemned as a form of torture by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Harvey, 50, and Mount, 61, were each convicted of two counts of common assault at a trial at Teesside Magistrates’ Court in March.

Yesterday, they were told to pay £50 each to Mr Healer as compensation.

Harvey was told to pay £1,395 in fines and costs for his role in the attack, while Mount was told to pay a total of £730.

Footage of the incident at Peterlee police station was also played to the court yesterday.

The footage showed Harvey twisting Mr Healer’s arm behind his back as Mount held his other arm.

He was then grabbed by both wrists across the custody suite desk by both defendants after again refusing to answer questions.

DIY shop boss Mr Healer, who sat in the public gallery to watch the sentencing, left the courtroom wiping his eyes as his screams of pain were played on the DVD.

The 48-year-old, of Seaham, County Durham, who had recently been treated in hospital and was an angina sufferer, told the trial he thought he would die in the attack.

On the footage, he is repeatedly heard requesting a doctor.

Harvey, of Chester-le-Street, and Mount, of Thornley, both County Durham, argued that they used reasonable force to restrain Mr Healer, who had been arrested on suspicion of breaching bail conditions and assaulting a police officer.

Both men had exemplary records during their time in the police and the incident last year was described as being out of character.

Steven Crossley, for Harvey, said: “The consequences of these convictions for Mr Harvey has already been great.

“He’s someone who prides himself on being a good police officer, prides himself on his reputation.

“Of course, there has been devastating damage to that reputation as a result of these convictions. That represents real punishment to him.”

Sentencing both men, Oliver Johnson, chair of the bench, said: “The greater punishment you will have received today is not the fine but the fact that your position in society will be severely downgraded in a bad way. Your unblemished character has gone.”

Speaking outside court after the sentencing, father-of-six Mr Healer said he was happy with the outcome.

He said he would be pursuing a claim for compensation for injuries to his spine, which he said he received as a result of the assault.

He said: “At the end of the day, it’s the consequences of what they did in society that’s going to affect them.