Student 'was attacked by off-duty policemen': Assault followed complaint about noise in street, court told

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A STUDENT and his family were attacked by carousing off- duty police officers after he told them to stop shouting and singing outside his home, a jury was told yesterday.

The police then arrested him and accused him of assault, the Old Bailey was told.

Francis Milburn was studying for exams at the London School of Economics when the three officers 'spilt out' on to the road outside his family home, Aftab Jafferjee, for the prosecution, said. They had 'emerged the worse for wear from drink from a pub at closing time'.

The student was in his room in Neville Terrace, Chelsea, south-west London. His mother and stepfather were watching television and his grandmother, in her eighties, was also in the house.

When Mr Milburn shouted at the officers to shut up as he had an exam in the morning, the men made gestures suggesting masturbation and told him to come down, Mr Jafferjee said. 'In order to pre-empt any real trouble, he quickly collected an American truncheon and stood on his doorstep.'

When he told one man to get off private property, he replied: 'You can't threaten us.'

As the student turned to flee back inside, 'all three were already on him and had entered his house', Mr Jafferjee said.

Nicholas Jones, 28, John Walsh, 30, and Jonathan Lehrle, 26, deny affray in June last year and perverting the course of justice. Mr Walsh also denies assaulting Mr Milburn's stepfather and mother, Robert Scott and Angela Milburn. Mr Jones and Mr Walsh were attached to Chelsea police station and Mr Lehrle a member of the 6th Territorial Support Group.

Mr Jafferjee said as Mr Jones was about to grab Mr Milburn, the student turned and 'whacked him on the head, effectively putting him out of action'. Mr Walsh or Mr Lehrle then struggled with the student, said they were police, and tried to arrest him. Mr Milburn replied: 'You are pissed'.

He ran from the house to get the men away from his family, but Mr Walsh 'who appeared to be the most violent' threw his mother and stepfather down the front steps, Mr Jafferjee said.

All three family members were arrested. Only Mr Milburn was charged.

He was later accused of assault and three officers 'gave untrue evidence against him,' Mr Jaff erjee said, 'but mercifully, after hearing all the evidence, magistrates dismissed the charge against him.'

The trial continues today.