Mugging victim arrested by police

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The Independent Online

A mugging victim who went to police a second time to report newly remembered facts about his two attackers was mistaken for a criminal and arrested.

He was locked in a cell overnight with only a copy of the Financial Times for warmth, bundled into a police van the next morning and driven 200 miles to be brought before a judge.

Despite his protests, West Yorkshire Police refused to believe that balding John Robert Warters, 57, was not the greying John Richard Waters, with the full head of hair, cited on the warrant from Gloucester.

Mr Warters offered to let police take his fingerprints to prove he was not Waters, an alias used by Anthony John Harvey who was convicted of making false statements to the Registrar of Births at Gloucester in October 1993 and who had been on the run for seven years until he was caught this year. He was bailed, but failed to appear on 25 May for sentencing and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Mr Warters was released only after the judge at Gloucester Crown Court, court staff and a reporter agreed that he was not the wanted man and bore little or no resemblance to him.

He received an immediate apology from the judge but is now planning to sue West Yorkshire constabulary for wrongful arrest. The judge ordered an investigation into the incident.