Landlord and Wife part of £47,000 Payout by Lancashire Police

Assault And False Charges By Police


A Landlord, his wife and family, and friends have received a collective £47,000 compensation payment for assault and false charges by police officers from Lancashire Police Force.

On 1 April 2001, Thomas Fox, 51, landlord of the Jubilee Public House was standing outside of his pub - not working, checking for any rowdy football supporters. A match between Blackburn Rovers and Burnley was taking place and both Mr Fox and Mrs Fox had been preparing for football fans to come into the pub to watch the match.

They had a good partnership with Lancashire Police and had been talking to them earlier in the day about any need for police assistance. While Mr Fox was stood outside the pub, PC Tony Ford walked up to him and said that he was drunk and asked him what drugs he was on.

Linda Fox, 58, overheard the comments and was outraged. She walked up to PC Ford asking him for his name and number and was threatened with arrest. After stating that this was her legal right, she was pushed against the police van, felt something sharp in her back and was arrested. She was then put into the back of the van. she was placed in handcuffs tightly . She tried to move onto a seat but an officers put his hands on her head and said on the floor bitch.

When Mr Fox heard his wife of eight years had been arrested, he walked over to the van to see what had happened. He too was arrested and thrown onto the ground and was hit with a baton.

Police then decided to storm the pub with riot gear on. As soon as they entered they were pushing and hitting people with their shields and batons. Mrs Fox's daughter, Nicola King and two family friends, Sharon Walton and Terence Watson were violently assaulted by the police offices.

Mrs Walton was dragged along the floor, through broken glass and received a kick to her head which led her to lose consciousness. When Miss King was told by Mrs Walton to go and get the CCTV footage, PC Ford pushed her outside and against a wall. When she was eventually allowed back into the pub, she witnessed a police officer taking a stack of video tapes. It is alleged that the CCTV footage of the incident was subsequently tampered with by the police.

Terence Watson was assaulted and dragged out of the pub. He was later taken with Mr and Mrs Fox to Bamber Bridge Police Station. Mr Fox was taken to Chorley Accident and Emergency Unit for medical attention.

Mr and Mrs Fox attended Blackburn Magistrates Court for trial on 11 December 2001 having been charged with threatening behaviour and drunk and disorderly, and were told they would be let off if they agreed to be bound over to keep the peace. They refused this as they believed the police should be punished for the violence which they inflicted upon them and the CCTV footage they tampered with.

The case ended in their favour. All five made formal complaints which were investigated by the Police Complaints Authority. At the end of the Police Complaints Authority investigation they subsequently launched civil proceedings for false imprisonment, assault, trespass and malicious prosecution which resulted in an out of Court settlement of £47,000. Lancashire Police maintained their denial of liability throughout.

Mrs Walton was left in a stressed and hysterical state and has developed chronic anxiety and depression. She said: I believe this incident has changed me as a person. I have been prescribed Peroxatine tablets which are to help me with anxiety and stress. I have also been to counselling sessions for approximately 12 weeks and I have been advised that I need to undergo a course of cognitive behavioural therapy.

Mrs Fox has encountered a great amount of stress, she said: Since this incident, my husband and I have had a terrible time mentally. We have been extremely stressed and we were unable to eat or sleep for quite some time. I am extremely upset by the way we were treated by the police. Had we been convicted of the offence there was a good chance that we would have lost our licence in the pub.

Iftikhar Manzoor of Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, who represented the claimants against Lancashire Police, said: "Mr and Mrs Fox are respectable members of the Blackburn society and have enjoyed a good working relationship with the police as licensees. They have owned their pub for over 20 years and have no previous convictions. They are both very positive people and have a calm manner about them. All of the claimants were poorly treated by the police and did not deserve what happened to them. We are glad that the case has now been settled and the claimants have been left with integrity and peace of mind."

Find out more about making a claim for wrongful arrest or police negligence.