‘I’ve never been so scared’: Patsy Stevenson says she is not an activist and just went to lay flowers

‘I still don’t know why I was pushed to the ground so forcefully,’ she says

Zoe Tidman
Monday 15 March 2021 10:19 GMT
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Patsy Stevenson: 'I am not an activist'

Patsy Stevenson has said she had gone to lay down flowers and a candle at the vigil for Sarah Everard, where she was pictured being pinned to the ground by police.

The university student said she was “not an activist or protester” as she told Good Morning Britain about her arrest and the moments leading up to it.

Images of Ms Stevenson being held to the ground in handcuffs at the weekend’s vigil went viral, and appeared to encapsulate the widespread anger over the police response to a peaceful vigil.

She told GMB on Monday: “I still don’t know why I was pushed to the ground so forcefully.”

The student added: “I was only there to lay a candle down. I did not expect that to happen.”

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When asked how she felt in that moment she was restrained on the ground at the vigil for Everard in south London, Ms Stevenson said she had “never been so scared”.

She was given a £200 fine after being arrested at vigil at Clapham Common in memory of the 33-year-old marketing executive on Saturday, who went missing while walking home in south London on 3 March and was found dead in Kent the following week.

There has been condemnation of the policing of the vigil, which centred around a bandstand covered in flowers left in tribute.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police were seen grabbing several women, leading them away in handcuffs and the force later said four people were arrested for public order and coronavirus regulation breaches.

Officers have come under fire for their policing of Saturday’s vigil

Ms Stevenson claimed police at the event seemed to be “aggressively talking” to women on the bandstand at the event. “There were quite a few police so we were worried if there is anything going on here, we need to make sure everyone’s safe,” she said.

She says women on the bandstand asked her to come on because they needed “help”.

“All of a sudden, there were quite a few police on the bandstand. Now, it was distanced until the police came, because on the bandstand there were about 30 police, they pushed us towards the edge of the bandstand I was holding onto,” she said.

The head of the Metropolitan Police is under intense pressure to explain her officers’ actions during the vigil.

In the early hours of Sunday, Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball said police were put into a position “where enforcement action was necessary”.

She added: “Those who gathered were spoken to by officers on a number of occasions and over an extended period of time. We repeatedly encouraged those who were there to comply with the law and leave.”

Additional reporting by Press Association

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