Cell attack accused officer sacked
A police officer who was jailed but then cleared on appeal after being accused of throwing a woman head-first on to the concrete floor of a cell has been sacked by his force.
Sgt Mark Andrews was caught on CCTV dragging Pamela Somerville, 59, across the floor of Melksham police station in Wiltshire before shoving her into a cell.
The former soldier, who remained suspended on full pay, was sacked by Wiltshire Police following an internal conduct hearing, which was held in private.
The officer was jailed for six months in September by a district judge at Oxford Magistrates' Court, who condemned him for abusing a position of trust, and spent six days behind bars before he was released on bail pending an appeal.
Last month at Oxford Crown Court, a judge quashed his conviction and sentence for assault causing actual bodily harm.
Mr Justice Bean said after the four-day hearing that he was satisfied Sgt Andrews did not intend to throw Ms Somerville into the cell and that injuries she suffered were probably caused by her falling to the floor after letting go of the door frame.
Ms Somerville, who had been detained for failing to provide a sample for a breath test after being found asleep in her car, needed stitches to a gash above her eye following the incident in July 2008. She denied any wrongdoing and charges were later dropped due to insufficient evidence.
Sgt Andrews, who is married with children aged four and two, told the appeal hearing that Ms Somerville was the most unpredictable prisoner he had ever come across and she had been abusive to both him and his colleagues.
The court was shown CCTV footage in which he was seen apparently throwing her on to the cell floor. A minute later she staggered to her feet with injuries to her face and eye.
Sgt Andrews, who joined Wiltshire Police around eight years ago and was promoted to sergeant in 2005, told the court: "I don't think I did anything wrong. She had been holding on to the cell door frame when she suddenly let go. It was like pulling a cork out of a bottle."