Pensioner 'blinded by police CS spray'

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The Independent Online
A PENSIONER had CS spray fired into his face by a police officer after he stopped his car on double yellow lines to allow his disabled wife to visit the hairdressers, a court heard yesterday.

The 6ft 2in officer, who is the first policeman to be prosecuted for discharging CS spray, said he used the disarming device because he feared Kenneth Whitaker, 67, was going to bite him. In the row that followed, Mr Whitaker was sprayed with CS, pulled out of the car, handcuffed and driven off in a police car with a flashing blue light, Luton Crown Court was told. Pc Andrew Taylor, 30, denies causing actual bodily harm during the incident in May last year.

The court heard that Mr Whitaker's wife, Phyllis, 76, who walks with a stick, had left her orange disabled sticker at home. Mr Whitaker, who appeared in court with a stick and suffers from arthritis and sciatica, said that he always parked on the double yellow line for 10-15 seconds to drop his wife off in Kempston, Bedfordshire.

The retired insurance salesman said that as his wife opened the car door, a police car with two officers pulled up alongside and one shouted at him: "You are causing an obstruction."

"I told him: 'Go away you little man'. Then there was a screech of brakes like Santa Pod. He roared away 15 yards up the road and came to a screeching halt."

Mr Whitaker said both the officers got out of the car with the driver Pc Taylor coming to his door. "The driver said 'Get out of the car'. I said: 'No. I have done nothing wrong'."

He said Pc Taylor started shouting at him, opened his car door and started tugging at him before grabbing his car keys and then: "I suddenly felt a blow in my face. I wasn't aware what it was - only an excruciating pain in my right eye."

Mr Whitaker said he suffered a cut on the nose and the head and could not see out of his right eye for several days.

Pc Taylor claimed that Mr Whitaker had refused to give him his details. "When he tried to drive off I took his keys."

He said he used the spray because he thought he was going to be bitten.

The trial continues.

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