Policeman accused of cell attack wins his job back

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A POLICE officer who was sacked by his force after being accused of throwing a woman head-first onto the concrete floor of a cell has won his job back.

Sergeant Mark Andrews was sacked by Wiltshire Police after being seen on CCTV dragging Pamela Somerville, 60, across the floor of a police station before shoving her into a cell.

He was dismissed from the force in January following an internal conduct hearing but appealed to the independent Police Appeals Tribunal, which overturned the decision and ordered that he be reinstated at his former rank immediately.

Wiltshire Police and the Wiltshire Police Authority said last night that they were “surprised and disappointed” by the decision and were considering launching an appeal.

The former soldier was jailed for six months in September last year by a district judge at Oxford Magistrates’ Court, who condemned him for abusing a position of trust.

Sgt Andrews spent six days behind bars before he was released on bail pending an appeal. A judge later quashed his conviction and sentence for assault causing actual bodily harm.

Mr Justice Bean said he was satisfied Sgt Andrews did not intend to throw Ms Somerville into the cell and that injuries she suffered were probably caused by her falling to the floor after letting go of the door frame.

Ms Somerville needed stitches to a gash above her eye following the incident in July 2008.

She had been detained for failing to provide a sample for a breath test after being found asleep in her car. She denied any wrongdoing and charges were later dropped.

Sgt Andrews told the appeal hearing Ms Somerville was the most unpredictable prisoner he had ever come across and she had been abusive to both him and his colleagues.

A Wiltshire Police spokesman said: “Wiltshire Police and Wiltshire Police Authority are considering all options available to the force and will be taking legal advice with a view to challenging this decision.

“The force and the police authority know that the public do not find the use of excess force, or intolerant and discreditable conduct acceptable – and we strongly agree.”

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