Officer admits he was wrong to hit Tomlinson

 

A police officer accused of killing an unemployed alcoholic today told a court that he was wrong to have struck a man with a baton and shoved him to the ground during protests in London.

PC Simon Harwood, 45, said that he accepted he had gone over the top in striking Ian Tomlinson but had mistakenly believed that the 47-year-old was walking towards police lines when he hit him. He said in hindsight he “wouldn’t have gone anywhere near” Mr Tomlinson.

During a day of highly-charged evidence, PC Harwood’s voice broke and his wife, Helen, sobbed while he gave evidence at his trial for manslaughter.

Video footage taken of the G20 protests showed PC Harwood sent Mr Tomlinson sprawling during a confrontation on April 1, 2009. Mr Tomlinson is seen remonstrating with police officers before being helped to his feet.

He collapsed on the street about 75 yards away and was dead within an hour of the incident with severe internal injuries, the court has heard.

PC Harwood, during his second day in the witness box today, was asked if he accepted what he did on that day was wrong. He said: “From what I have seen, yes, but not at the time that I engaged with Mr Tomlinson.”

He went on: “Now I have seen all the evidence and am aware of how poorly Mr Tomlinson was, I am sorry that I got it wrong. I shouldn’t have hit him with a baton and pushed him.”

Mr Tomlinson’s family walked out of the court after Pc Harwood listed firearms as one of the available options to him to move the 47-year-old. During cross-examination by Mark Dennis QC, for the prosecution, PC Harwood was asked what he could have done with Mr Tomlinson, who had been drinking all day, and was ambling away from the police lines with his hands in his pockets.

Pc Harwood listed the use of CS spray, his voice, handcuffs, kicks and punches before mentioning firearms, prompting the walkout.

Mr Dennis added: “Might I suggest your conduct on this day seemed to be an exercise of this approach: strike first, ask questions afterwards. Is that unfair?”

Pc Harwood replied: “Yes, I believe it is.”

The case continues

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border