Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Kerb-trip PC to continue legal case

A police officer seeking damages from a petrol station owner after she reportedly tripped on a kerb is to drop her claim, according to reports

A police officer is going ahead with legal action against a petrol station owner after she tripped on a kerb while attending a suspected break-in, despite her father saying she planned to drop it.

A spokesman for the Police Federation, which is funding Pc Kelly Jones' legal costs, insisted she plans to continue the claim against the owner of Nuns' Bridges Filling Station in Thetford, Norfolk, even though her father, Danny Harle, said she is to drop it after being upset at the strong reaction it has prompted.

Mr Harle, 58, told the Daily Mirror she felt she had been "persecuted".

He added: "All she did was follow standard police procedure. There was never any mention of figures. She was expecting a couple of grand, not £500,000. Kelly wants to drop the claim to prove she's not a money-grabber, not because she feels she's done anything wrong."

Lawyers claim garage owner Steve Jones, 50, was at fault for failing to ensure the police officer was "reasonably safe", making no attempt to light the area or warn her about the step when she went to the incident in August last year.

On Monday Chief Constable Phil Gormley spoke of his "disappointment" over the matter. Mr Gormley said: "This type of claim does not represent the approach and attitude of the overwhelming majority of our staff who understand and accept the risks inherent in policing and which they willingly confront to keep the public they serve safe. It is a disappointment that this is potentially undermined by a private compensation claim."

A Norfolk Constabulary spokesman said on Monday: "This legal action is not supported by the Constabulary, our understanding being that the action is funded and supported by the Police Federation, a position over which the Constabulary has no control."

Mr Jones and the officer were checking the outside of the building after an alarm had gone off, when she is alleged to have fallen and injured herself.

The letter from law fim Pattinson Brewer, seven months after the incident, claims Pc Jones went towards a gap in the fencing to access the rear of the premises but was unaware there was a section of high kerbing and tripped and fell. The officer injured her left leg and right wrist and went to the West Suffolk Hospital, the letter added.

Mr Jones said: "At first I was anxious and worried. I really could not see how this sort of thing could have happened. You call the police and expect them to be on your side. I'm sure they are normally but not in this case."

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