Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Clifford Street Scandal

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Clifford Street Scandal

Article excerpt

Byline: Katie Davies Chief Reporter

HOW a vulnerable woman suffering a fit was wrongly arrested by police, who assumed she was drunk, and then put alone in a cell, emerged today.

Hours later, the 36-year-old was found permanently brain damaged after being left unattended in the police cell.

Today, it emerged the force had paid out PS450,000 in compensation to the victim after the outrage at one of Tyneside's biggest and busiest police stations.

But no officer has been dismissed although one PC was issued with a written warning.

The sorry saga happened at Newcastle's Clifford Street Police Station in Byker in the city's East End when at about 3pm on September 12, 2010 the woman was arrested in nearby Heaton Park when she was found in what the officers thought was a drunken state.

She was, in fact, suffering a hypoglemic attack, when the body's blood sugar level drops dangerously low, and in urgent need of medical attention.

But instead she was taken to Clifford Street Station where she was left in a cell for nearly seven hours without being checked, lawyers representing the woman, who has not been identified, said.

It was not until 10.45pm that night that officers finally entered the cell and found her in a coma.

She was rushed to hospital where she remained for two months, before being discharged with permanent brain damage.

Northumbria Police insist that "significant improvements" have been made since the incident.

A spokeswoman said: "Northumbria Police can confirm compensation has been paid to a woman after her arrest in 2010 on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly.

"The force acknowledged at an early stage that it had fallen short of its duty to protect this woman while in custody.

"Northumbria Police has a high standard of care and wellbeing for all those who are brought into custody.

"There have been significant improvements made in recent years and the force continues to evaluate its practices to ensure the utmost safety of detainees and staff. …

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