Police 'threatened Army place': Entry to Sandhurst 'delayed after attack by three drunken officers'

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The Independent Online
A STUDENT'S plan for a career as an Army officer was threatened after drunken policemen attacked him - and then accused him of assault, an Old Bailey jury was told.

Francis Milburn, 22, said he had been due to go to the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, last September, but had to put it off because he was facing a criminal charge.

'They do not accept convicted criminals as officers in the British Army,' he told the court.

Mr Milburn was giving evidence in the trial of the three policemen who allegedly stormed into his house and attacked him and his family after a drinking bout. Nicholas Jones, 28, John Walsh, 30, and Jonathan Lehrle, 26, have all denied affray last June and perverting the course of justice at Mr Milburn's court hearing.

Mr Milburn was later cleared. He is now attending Sandhurst and regarded the incident as 'a bad memory', he said.

Mr Walsh has also denied assaulting Mr Milburn's stepfather, Robert Scott, and his mother, Angela Milburn. Mr Jones and Mr Walsh were attached to Chelsea Police Station and Mr Lehrle was a member of the 6th Territorial Support Group.

The court has heard how the three left the Anglesey Arms in Chelsea, west London, on 10 June last year 'clearly the worse for wear'. The noise disturbed Mr Milburn, who was studying at home for exams at the London School of Economics. He shouted at them to be quiet but they allegedly made obscene gestures.

They told him to come down and he had taken a truncheon as 'I found it threatening. I did not know they were police officers.'

The officers allegedly attacked Mr Milburn. His mother and stepfather were thrown down the steps by Mr Walsh, according to the prosecution.

Michael Boardman, for Mr Walsh, suggested that if Mr Milburn had been convicted of assault it would have been the end of his career. Mr Milburn replied: 'As an officer, yes. That is why I am not lying now. That is why integrity is very important.'

Mr Scott said there was a 'general melee of wrestling, fighting, pushing and shoving' in the house. He called to his wife to telephone the police. When a police car arrived he said he thought the men would be arrested. He then felt a blow on his back.

He told the jury: 'I was disgusted and disillusioned to find the men who had barged into my home were police officers.'

The trial continues today.