Essex

Colchester police officer 'giggled' after man severed fingers in cell

cell door
Image caption The man lost the tips of three fingers in a cell in 2015

A police inspector giggled while saying he had pulled somebody's fingers off, a misconduct hearing was told.

A 33-year-old Romanian national got his fingers caught under the metal rim of a toilet seat at Colchester Police Station, severing the ends, the hearing was told.

A panel at Chelmsford Civic Centre heard the man was restrained after dipping his injured hand in the toilet.

Five officers face gross misconduct charges over the 2015 incident.

The man, referred to as Mr S, who has mental health issues, was arrested on 30 April after a driver reported him for exposing himself on a bus.

He injured his fingers when officers tried to pull him away from the cell toilet at about 02:00 BST on 2 May 2015.

The panel heard how the following day PC Luke Salmon had used force to stop the man biting his thumb before loosely restraining him with handcuffs.

Mr S had been dipping his bandaged hand into the toilet and sucking the water up, as well as licking it off the floor, PC Salmon said.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The incident happened in a custody cell at Colchester police station in 2015

The officer also told the hearing he had seen Insp Christopher Tyler laughing and acting "excitable" when telling colleagues about the incident shortly afterwards.

He said: "Once I knew the severity of the injuries, the comments made me feel uncomfortable, I thought they were inappropriate."

Fellow officer PC Carla Hammond said she heard Insp Tyler say "we just pulled somebody's fingers off" while giggling.

Image caption The police misconduct panel is hearing evidence at Chelmsford's Civic Centre

Insp Tyler, temporary Sgt Marcus Buckley, PC Joseph Hawthorne, PC Nicholas Pulham and PC Richard Philipsen all deny gross misconduct.

They claim they were trying to remove Mr S to stop him from hurting himself and prevent him putting his head in the toilet.

The hearing continues.

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