Four cops guilty of misconduct charges after student was left paralysed

Three police officers face being sacked after a student was left paralysed while being detained outside a nightclub.

Julian Cole, now 25, had his neck broken as he was tackled to the ground by bouncers and police officers at the Elements nightclub in Bedford in 2013.

The sports science student also suffered brain damage and a severe spinal injury in the scuffle that left him needing round-the-clock care.

But a disciplinary panel found that PC Hannah Ross, PC Nicholas Oates and PC Sanjeev Kalyant lied about the incident, amounting to gross misconduct.

Sgt Andrew Withey was also found guilty of misconduct after being found to have breached standards of duties and responsibilities.

Mr Cole sustained a severely broken neck, a cardiac arrest and stopped breathing as he was tackled to the ground twice outside the club in Bedford on May 6, 2013.

The panel heard how he was “taken to the ground” by police officers and cuffed “face down” on the pavement.

He had been there with friends and had arrived at around midnight but was thrown out via a side door just over an hour later.

After staff refused to refund him, Mr Cole attempted to go back inside the club a number of times.

Staff radioed for police support at officers including PC Nicholas Oates, PC Sanjeev Kalyan and PC Hannah Ross arrived shortly after 1.30am.

Mr Cole then approached staff again about a refund, at which point PC Ross “decided she was going to arrest him”.

The student ran towards the nightclub but was intercepted by a member of door staff and both of them “went to the ground”.

Mr Cole stood back up before he was “taken to the ground” by PC Ross, PC Oates and PC Kalyan who cuffed him with “his face down on the ground”.

Three officers lifted him from the ground and he was taken to the police van.

CCTV was shown to the hearing in which officers were seen to be dragging Mr Cole as his legs appeared to be trailing behind him.

Mr Cole was taken to a police station less than a mile away, but he was “unable to stand” on arrival.

At around 2am, PC Ross called an ambulance, paramedics arrived and started CPR on Mr Cole, who was not breathing.

Thirty minutes later he was taken to hospital where he was found to have a broken vertebrae.

He was dragged to the back of a van and taken to a nearby police station where officers later found him unresponsive.

He will spend the rest of his life in a vegetative state.

The police disciplinary panel heard how the Bedfordshire police officers made a number of dishonest statements in their notepads and in subsequent interviews in an effort to avoid blame for the tragedy.

All three were also found to have committed misconduct after failing to fulfil their duties and responsibilities regarding their care of Mr Cole.

The hearing was adjourned before submissions from the officers regarding what punishment they should face.

But John Bassett, the panel chair, said: “For a serving officer to make false statements is so bad as to justify dismissal in itself.”

The Independent Office for Police Conduct referred its findings of an earlier investigation to the Crown Prosecution Service, which decided that no criminal conduct had occurred.


Since you’re here …

Real, independent, investigative journalism is in alarming decline. It costs a lot to produce. Many publications facing an uncertain future can no longer afford to fund it. This means journalists are losing the ability to hold the rich and powerful to account.

We do not charge or put articles behind a paywall. If you can, please show your appreciation for our free content by donating whatever you think is fair to help keep TLE growing.

Every penny we collect from donations supports vital investigative and independent journalism. You can also help us grow by inviting your friends to follow us on social media.

Donate Now Button

Leave a Reply