CCTV shows Mark Andrews dragging Pamela Somerville across lobby of police station in Wiltshire before shoving her into cell
Dramatic video footage has emerged of a police sergeant dragging a women to a cell and hurling her inside, an incident which has led to his suspension.
Pamela Somerville, 57, was left with blood gushing from a head wound after Sergeant Mark Andrews pulled her by the wrist across the floor of Melksham police station in Wiltshire and threw her into the custody suite. A camera cell showed Somerville lying briefly unconscious after her head hit the floor and then staggering to her feet, dripping blood.
The officer, a former soldier, 37, was convicted of assault causing actual bodily harm at Oxford magistrates court in July, and is due to be sentenced on Tuesday. He faces a formal disciplinary hearing next month and is currently suspended on full pay.
Another officer at the police station reported the incident to a supervisor.
Somerville had been found asleep in her car in July 2008 and denies refusing a breath test. Charges were later dropped, and the police have apologised
Somerville, now 59, told the Mail on Sunday, which published the CCTV footage: “I still find it hard to watch the images of me staggering to my feet with blood pouring from a head wound, because I can remember how terrified I was. I could have died. It seems utterly that an innocent person can be treated in such a horrific and violent way and then be left alone … the fact that someone may even have been watching the CCTV footage of me not moving on the floor.”
The CCTV footage shows Andrews coming back into the cell after Somerville gets to her feet and calling for help. Another person then comes to check her, and paramedics are called.
Somerville was taken to Royal United hospital in Bath, and needed stitches in a gash above her eye.
In a detailed statement, Wiltshire police’s assistant chief constable, Patrick Geenty, said: “We are very concerned when anyone is injured in our custody, and the court has decided that this injury was as a result of a criminal assault by Sergeant Mark Andrews, a member of Wiltshire police who was performing duty as a custody sergeant at the time.
“We respect the decision of the court, and the force has formally apologised to the injured lady for the assault she suffered while in our care.
“People have a right to expect that the police will always act by placing the safety and welfare of the public as their first priority.
“This is particularly so when in police custody when, irrespective of the reason for their detention, people should feel and be safe.”
He praised the officer who had reported the incident, saying she had “performed her duty in accordance with the highest standards expected of a police officer in bringing this unacceptable incident to the attention of another supervisor”.
Geenty said 16,000 people a year were dealt with in Wiltshire custody centres in what could be a hostile environment, adding: “Despite the rigour and effectiveness of our systems and training, it will never be possible to provide a 100% assurance that our guidelines, on occasions, will not be broken.
“Whilst that is unpalatable, the reality is that policing is complex and difficult, and again we repeat [that] there can never be any excuse for excessive behaviour by police officers or police staff.”
The assistant chief constable said there had been no other serious assaults of this nature, adding: “Although there have been a total of 13 complaints of assault, none have been substantiated following investigation.”