Belfast Telegraph

PSNI officer accused of shoplifting claimed to have been on cocktail of painkillers, trial is told

By Staff Reporter

A PSNI officer who arrested a fellow policewoman for shoplifting contacted her supervisor for advice when she recognised her colleague.

Linda Totten (50), with an address at PSNI Enniskillen, denies two counts of theft from Asda in the Co Fermanagh town on December 10 and 24, 2013.

On the second occasion goods totalling £156.81 were allegedly stolen, while the amount from the first incident is unknown.

Her trial at Dungannon Crown Court resumed yesterday with evidence from the officer who detained her on Christmas Eve 2013.

She told the court she recognised the suspect as a police sergeant and contacted her superior for advice on how best to handle the situation.

She was told to "proceed as normal".

Totten's trial commenced last week before a jury, presided over by Judge Neil Rafferty.

The court yesterday heard from the arresting officer that she introduced herself to Totten, who said: "It was a genuine mistake."

After arrest and caution, however, she made no reply.

The officer took Totten to the police car and advised she would be going to Omagh PSNI Station.

She told the court Totten became tearful, claiming she could not go to the station due to a previous incident there.

The arresting officer's supervisor told her to bring her to Enniskillen, where a sergeant would take over the case.

On arrival at custody Totten claimed to have consumed eight diazepam tablets, and that she had been assaulted by her partner the previous night, who had punched her in the face.

The court heard her partner allegedly held her down and placed her knee in a recent surgical wound.

The force doctor who examined Totten told the court she said she was suffering from a number of health issues, and referred to the alleged assault.

Totten also claimed she was hurt in her face, shoulder and surgical wound, but the doctor said "there was no evidence of external injuries".

He added: "Sgt Totten disclosed her partner had prevented her taking her antidepressant medication that day, so she took eight 5mg diazepam.

"She further disclosed taking two tramadol, two Tylex and two Naproxen. The first two are fairly strong painkillers and the third is an anti-inflammatory."

Prosecution counsel asked what would be the cumulative effect of these medications taken together.

The doctor replied: "A person would be very sleepy, drowsy and dull."

He confirmed no evidence of this when examining Totten, and said while communication was difficult, this was more to do with her being "emotional and upset".

Under defence cross-examination the doctor accepted people react differently to drugs, but pointed out 40mg of diazepam had allegedly been consumed that day, and Totten was prescribed these to take in a 5mg dose "only occasionally".

He found her unfit for interview, and explained: "She was upset and had told me she had taken all this medication. We have no way of checking that. We have to take their word for it.

"I thought it best to leave the interview."

The trial continues.

Belfast Telegraph

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