Assaulted by police!
I was seven and a half months pregnant when my life fell apart
Playing with my son Lucas, 2, I smiled.
It was 7 July 2011. I had six kids and had just dropped Juree, 7, and Chanel, 8, off at school.
In just 10 weeks’ time, I would be adding to my brood.
Being a mum meant everything to me.
Finishing breakfast, there was a heavy bang at the door. Placing Lucas in his high chair, I went to answer.
Three police officers were on my doorstep.
‘What’s happened?’ I asked, panic rising.
What they said next made my head spin.
‘We’re arresting you on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life and intimidating a witness.’
Next thing, I was bundled away as officers took Lucas to my neighbour.
Once I’d been taken to the police station, I burst into tears.
‘Have you ever self-harmed?’ an officer asked.
Stunned, I admitted I had, but a long time ago.
I was put in a cell with two officers who said I could be in danger of strangling myself, so decided all my clothing except my pants should be removed. ‘No!’ I begged. But three more officers ran in and forced me face-down, my bump pressed into the bed. ‘I’m pregnant!’ I protested. But I was pinned down, my T-shirt ripped off, and bra cut with a knife, as another officer cuffed my hands behind me.
‘What are you doing?’ a custody nurse demanded, walking past.
She ordered them to leave, and offered me a T-shirt to cover up.
For 11 hours, I sat, cuffed, in the cell.
I was in total shock. I was a normal mum, not an arsonist.
At around 9pm, I was taken in for an interview, with a solicitor present.
My children were staying with friends and family. I wished I could be with them.
It was only at this point that I discovered why I was here. I was accused of petrol bombing a former friend’s car.
They said I had no alibi. But I knew exactly where I was at that time.
Not something I’d forget easily.
I was having a biopsy after discovering a lump in my left breast.
‘If you check the CCTV at the hospital, you’ll see,’ I told the detectives.
But I was slung back in a cell.
Missing my kids, and freezing cold, I wasn’t even offered a blanket.
An hour later, I was taken to have my fingerprints taken.
After, so tired, I just wanted to sleep, but they wanted to move me to a different cell.
I was pinned down, cuffed again, and d one officer ffi repeatedly punched me in my right arm until I moved. I was black and blue. I endured three more hours in a different cell.
But what was worrying me more was my baby. Pains in my stomach were getting worse.
I was given paracetamol but nobody seemed to care.
Soon, I was taken to court,
They said I had no alibi – but I knew I’d been at hospital
where I was charged with witness intimidation and arson.
I was remanded in custody and moved to Nottingham Prison.
A living nightmare.
Within hours of being in the cell, I started bleeding.
I was rushed to Nottingham Hospital, then told I needed an emergency Caesarean.
Ten weeks before my due date, Charna was born weighing 3lb 3oz.
The doctor said the labour had been brought on by stress.
Charna was put on a ventilator.
I stayed with her for two days before I had to return to prison.
I could only see her for a few hours every week.
I was terrified, didn’t know if she’d live or die.
After two weeks in prison, things got even worse.
‘You have breast cancer,’ the doctor at the Nottingham Breast Institute told me.
I was transferred to Peterborough Prison before having mastectomy surgery at Peterborough Hospital.
Charna was moved to the same hospital as me.
She was fighting for her life.
Six weeks after my arrest, police finally saw the CCTV from the hospital and I was released without charge.
Seeing my family again was amazing. I’d never been away from my kids for so long.
Now, six years on, I still haven’t got justice.
Nottinghamshire Police issued a public apology to me.
Three of the officers involved were found guilty of gross misconduct.
An investigation into two more officers was dropped because of delays by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC.)
The IPCC has now publicly apologised as well. But it isn’t enough. All the officers involved still have their jobs. I was innocent and heavily pregnant, yet I was abused, humiliated and assaulted by those who are meant to protect us.
Charna is now 6 but has developmental delays and is going blind in one eye. So I’m fighting for justice for both of us. But time is running out. Six months ago, I was told the cancer has spread to my brain and lungs. I could just have a year to live.
The clock is ticking...
Officers were found guilty of gross misconduct
Charna and me today My girl She suffered developmental problems