Cell attack policeman back on full pay

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The Independent Online

A policeman who was jailed for assault after being caught on CCTV throwing a 57-year-old woman into a cell is back on full pay, it has emerged.

Sergeant Mark Andrews, 37, was filmed dragging Pamela Somerville through Melksham police station in Wiltshire.

The former soldier was jailed for six months by a deputy district judge at Oxford Magistrates' Court after being convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

However, after serving just six days of his sentence he was released earlier this week on bail by a Crown Court judge pending an appeal.

Papers released ahead of a Wiltshire Police Authority meeting revealed Andrews is "on full pay while suspended, pending the outcome of a conduct hearing".

In meeting notes to the police authority, Chief Constable Brian Moore, said: "For this period Wiltshire Police have invoked Home Office Circular 8/07, which allows for the force to withdraw his salary on the grounds he was serving a custodial sentence further to conviction.

"Further to his successful bail application on 13 September 2010, the required conditions in relation to this provision were removed and Sgt Andrews returned to the status of being suspended on full pay."

Ms Somerville, now 59, needed stitches to a gash above her eye following the attack in July 2008.

She had been detained for failing to provide a sample for a breath test after being found asleep in her car, but denied any wrongdoing.

The charges were later dropped due to insufficient evidence.

Ms Somerville, a market researcher from Chippenham, Wiltshire, described the attack as an "horrific nightmare".

She said: "I will never forget it. I would love to be able to take a tablet to make me forget it but I never will.

"It was just a horrific nightmare. I thought they had mistaken me for a murderer or drug smuggler or terrorist."

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

Wiltshire Police Assistant chief constable Patrick Geenty described Andrews' assault as "a disgraceful incident which breached the standards of care which every police officer gives to the public".

He added: "There is no place in Wiltshire Police for an officer like this. I fully support the comments of the judge and the sentence that he has handed down."

Andrews' appeal hearing is listed to begin at Oxford Crown Court on November 15, while a police conduct hearing, which will decide Andrews' future in the force, is also scheduled to take place the same month.