Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Police detention officer jailed for scalding prisoner

Adrian Law
Image caption Adrian Law worked at Barnsley police station for six years

A detention officer from South Yorkshire Police has been jailed for deliberately throwing a cup of almost boiling water over a prisoner.

Adrian Law, 45, was working at Barnsley police station when he threw the hot water over Abdul Aziz Alfadley, 26, who was in custody.

Mr Alfadley suffered scalding injuries to his lower abdomen and genitals.

Law was jailed for three years at Leeds Crown Court after being found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm.

Law, of Cromwell Court, Goldthorpe, Barnsley, was cleared of the more serious charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Judge Mr Justice Spencer told Law "it was a wicked thing you did" and said he had "grossly abused" the trust put in him.

During the trial, the jury heard how Mr Alfadley was taken to the station on 30 May last year after he was arrested in Barnsley for a public order offence.

He was described as being agitated and disruptive and it was decided he should be strip searched.

Mr Alfadley was taken to a cell in his underwear where he was heard shouting and banging on the cell door.

The court was told Law went to a kitchen, filled a cup from the hot water boiler and returned to the cell, throwing it over Mr Alfadley through a hatch in the cell door.

The jury was shown pictures of Mr Alfadley's injuries, which included reddening and blistering of the skin.

Jurors heard that tests revealed the water in the kitchen boiler was heated to 94.7C (202.4F).

Action 'dangerous'

Law told the court he had been trying to pass the prisoner a cup of cold water and denied causing the injuries.

Mr Justice Spencer said he accepted Mr Alfadley was disruptive and the job of a detention officer was difficult.

He said: "None of that is any excuse for what you did to Mr Alfadley.

"He was entitled to just the same standard of care and protection as any other detainee.

"If anything, his agitated state made him all the more vulnerable.

"Why you did what you did only you know."

South Yorkshire Police Deputy Chief Constable Bob Dyson said: "Mr Law let down the public and let down his colleagues.

'Borne of frustration'

"On behalf of the force, I apologise to Mr Abdul Alfadley for the injuries he received."

Mr Law was charged following an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation.

IPCC commissioner Nicholas Long said: "One can only assume his actions were borne out of frustration at the noise Mr Alfadley was causing.

"But the action he chose to take was shocking and dangerous."

The IPCC said its investigation also found a custody sergeant who failed to respond to Mr Alfadley after the water was poured over him.

He received a written warning after a misconduct hearing.

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