Police officer goes on trial accused of assaulting prisoner

PC Paul McVeigh
PC Paul McVeigh

A police officer has gone on trial accused of two assaults on a prisoner.

PC Paul McVeigh, from Hebburn, is alleged to have dragged Jack Moore from the back of a police van before dropping him on to the concrete floor of a cell in Southwick police station in Sunderland.

A jury at Teesside Crown Court heard Mr Moore had earlier spat in McVeigh's face, which prosecutors claim annoyed the Northumbria Police officer and caused him to carry out the later assaults.

"We say there were two separate assaults of a detained person." said Victoria Lamballe, prosecuting.

"Mr Moore first came to the attention of another officer, PC Strawbridge, who earlier that evening was on patrol alone in Washington.

"He was called to an incident in Craddock Close in which Mr Moore was refusing to leave the premises despite the householder insisting he did so.

"PC Strawbridge found Mr Moore to be drunk and abusive.

"On his own account, Mr Moore later accepted he had been drinking for much of the day and had little recollection of that evening."

The court heard PC Strawbridge decided to arrest Mr Moore for being drunk and disorderly, and called for back up.

"That arrived in the shape of PC McVeigh," said Ms Lamballe.

"There was a struggle during which Mr Moore was handcuffed to the rear.

"Mr Moore spat at PC McVeigh, hitting him in the left eye, before he was put in the van's cage.

"McVeigh later described the spitting as the worst he'd experienced.

"Both vehicles, PC Strawbridge's police car and PC McVeigh's police van, went to Southwick police station.

"The van was driven in to the van dock area of the station."

Ms Lamballe said the van dock and surrounding area is covered by CCTV, which the prosecution say shows McVeigh assaulting Mr Moore.

"McVeigh went to the back of the van and dragged Mr Moore from the cage," said Ms Lamballe.

"He was flipped over before being dragged across the floor to the cell area.

"Once in the cell, McVeigh grabbed Mr Moore and dropped him onto the concrete floor of the cell, face first.

"Mr Moore suffered a 30mm cut to his chin which needed hospital treatment."

McVeigh, 48, denies common assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm on January 26, last year.

When interviewed about the incident, he said dropping Mr Moore was an accident.

McVeigh said he acted lawfully throughout, and his response had been proportionate in defence of himself and PC Strawbridge.