Policeman 'bully' jailed for wounding woman in cell

A POLICE sergeant who threw a woman head-first onto the concrete floor of a cell has been jailed for six months.

Sgt Mark Andrews was caught on CCTV dragging Pamela Somerville, 59, across the floor of Melksham police station in Wiltshire before shoving her into the cell.

Ms Somerville was arrested in July 2008 after being found asleep in her car. She was detained for failing to provide a sample for a breath test but never charged.

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Following the assault she was taken to Royal United Hospital in Bath and needed stitches in a gash above her left eye. She is now facing the prospect of an operation to save the sight in the eye.

Passing sentence, Deputy District Judge Peter Greenfield said Andrews abused his position of trust and only a custodial sentence was appropriate.

"In my view, you presided over an atmosphere of bullying and intimidation upon Ms Somerville which culminated in the cell later that morning."

Judge Greenfield also condemned the actions of two police officers who had given evidence on behalf of Andrews but praised another, Pc Rachel Webb who reported the incident to senior officers.

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CCTV footage of the attack shows Ms Somerville lying on the floor for a minute before struggling to get up and bleeding from a head wound.

Andrews, 37, who was convicted of assault causing actual bodily harm after a trial in July, had been suspended on full pay.

Jeremy Barton, mitigating for Andrews, immediately submitted papers for an appeal and said Andrews was sorry.

"Right from the very outset, he's expressed sorrow for the injuries that she received while in his custody," Mr Barton told the court.

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The judge accepted that Ms Somerville, who was described in court as slightly built, had been abusive but said she was "not lashing out or making threats".

Outside court after Andrews was jailed, Assistant Chief Constable Pat Geenty labelled him a "disgrace" and apologised to Ms Somerville.