Wiltshire Police cell assault officer denies wrongdoing

Sgt Mark Andrews. Pic: Wiltshire Police Mark Andrews spent six days in jail after being convicted

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A Wiltshire policeman appealing against his conviction and sentence for assaulting a woman in custody has told a court he did nothing wrong.

Sgt Mark Andrews was filmed dragging Pamela Somerville through Melksham police station in July 2008.

He told the court Ms Somerville was the most unpredictable prisoner he had ever come across and that she had been abusive to both him and his colleagues.

She was arrested for failing to take a breath test but never prosecuted.

Oxford Crown Court was shown CCTV showing Sgt Andrews dragging her across the custody suite and into the cell where she got up before someone appears to push her back onto the back wall of the cell.

'Downright lie'

Sgt Andrews told the court his colleague Pc Rachel Webb had called for help, saying Ms Somerville was attempting to escape.

He is then seen on CCTV throwing her onto the cell floor. A minute later she staggers to her feet, with injuries to her face and eye.

Commenting on his actions, Sgt Andrews told the court: "I don't think I did anything wrong.

"She had been holding onto the cell door frame when she suddenly let go.

"It was like pulling a cork out of a bottle," he added.

But the prosecution said his claim that Ms Somerville had continued to abuse him when he left her lying on the cell floor for the second time was a "downright lie".

Ms Somerville was arrested after she was found asleep in her car near her Colerne home and had been detained for failing to provide a sample for a breath test.

She denied any wrongdoing and the charges against her were later dropped due to insufficient evidence.

Sgt Andrews was jailed in September after he was convicted of causing her actual bodily harm following a trial in July.

The hearing continues.

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