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20 April 2012, 10:17
Two members of police staff who assaulted a prisoner in Peterlee in what was described as "a form of torture" are to be sentenced.
Police custody sergeant Stephen Harvey twisted DIY shop boss David Healer's arm behind his back so he would answer questions as civilian Detention Officer (CDO) Michael Mount and two uniformed officers looked on.
61 year old Mount also grabbed and twisted the Seaham shopkeeper's arm in the incident which the Police Complaints Commission called a "sad and astonishing''act.
48 year old Mr Healer told Teesside magistrates he thought he would die in the attack at Peterlee Police Station last March.
Sergeant Stephen Harvey, who's 50 and from Chester-le-Street, and Michael Mount from Thornley, argued they had used reasonable force to restrain Mr Healer, who had been arrested on suspicion of breaching bail conditions and who had assaulted a police officer.
But magistrates rejected the claim, after a trial.
An IPCC spokesman said the police constables who witnessed the attack will now be tried for misconduct.
IPCC Commissioner Nicholas Long said:
"A detained person is not under obligation to answer questions.
It would appear Sgt Harvey and CDO Mount had forgotten this and decided it was necessary to try to gain compliance through the use of force.
It is sad and frankly astonishing that in the 21st century experienced members of the police service believed inflicting pain as a way of eliciting responses to questions was acceptable."