Police pay couple damages

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A couple who claimed they were beaten, wrongly imprisoned and maliciously prosecuted by London police officers yesterday accepted pounds 31,000 damages, writes Heather Mills.

Terence Prince, now 25, was said to have had his front teeth kicked out and his girlfriend, Marie Stewart, 24, banged her head when she was pushed to the ground as the couple were arrested by police in Brixton in December five years ago.

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Paul Condon, denied liability but agreed to pay damages plus the couple's legal costs. Last year, the force paid out a total of pounds 1.76m to settle similar claims.

The Mayor and City of London Court was told that the couple were arguing when they were approached by police. Mr Prince explained they were having a dispute about which way to walk home but, as he began to leave, he was grabbed.

A statement read to the court said: "Mr Prince was ... punched in the face several times. He was forced to the floor and kicked in the mouth. Two of his front teeth were kicked out." When Ms Stewart tried to intervene, she was pushed to the ground.

They were both taken to Streatham police station, where Mr Prince was charged with four offences including assault and threatening behaviour. Ms Stewart was charged with threatening behaviour and obstructing police. But at their trial, 10 months later, all the charges were dismissed. The couple then sued for pain, injury, humiliation and distress.