Two police officers could be jailed after being found guilty of assaulting a man in a Peterborough park.
Pcs David Littlemore and John Richardson were out looking for a man in his 70s with Alzheimer’s who had disappeared from his home.
They saw victim John Morgan, 59, who was sitting on a park bench as he was out with his Jack Russell Winston.
Littlemore, (35) of Wittering, approached him and Mr Morgan, who has poor sight and diabetes, told him he was not the right man but refused to give his details. Magistrates heard that Littlemore was suspicious that Mr Morgan was putting on an accent because he spoke with a Welsh accent.
Mr Morgan told the court he was then ‘dragged to the floor’ by Littlemore and Richardson, (50), who twisted his arms behind his back. His phone and glasses fell to the ground and he said Richardson, of Kings Cliffe, repeatedly stamped in his right hand.
Mike Humphreys, prosecuting, told magistrates in Luton the Pcs had “no legal authority to do what they did.”
Retired engineer Mr Morgan told the court: “Officer two on my right [Richardson] wrenched my thumb back from my index finger and tried to get the dog lead out of my hand. He then stamped on my hand repeatedly and a lot of pressure was put on my back by officer one [Littlemore]. It could have killed me.”
Mr Morgan was only released when Littlemore confirmed via his radio that the missing man’s dog was a Staffordshire Bull Terrier not a Jack Russell, the court heard.
Giving evidence, Littlemore, who has served with Cambridgeshire police for 10 years, denied Mr Morgan’s version of events saying he was “concerned for his safety.”
He said: “I thought he may have lied to me about his Welsh accent as the missing man had Alzheimer’s and combined with him saying he had trouble with police, we thought it could be the missing man.”
Richardson, who has 18 years service, denied stamping on the victim’s hand and said he fell to the floor from the impact of him holding on to his arm. But both men were convicted of common assault.
District Judge Susan Holdham warned them all options were on the table as she postponed sentencing for reports.
She said: “Mr Morgan had every right to free himself from Pc Richardson holding his arm and he did not have to give his details if he did not want to. I find it difficult to understand the obsession with the dog lead whether it is taken from Mr Morgan’s hand or running free from its lead.
“I also find it difficult to understand that it is thought to be right to take someone down to the ground who is thought to be a vulnerable man. These police officers were not looking for a violent criminal or a knife man on the run.”
The men are due to be sentenced on July 28. A decision on the officer’s future will be made following sentencing.