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article imageMet policeman who kicked mother at child's hospital bed cleared

By Megan Hamilton     Jan 23, 2015 in World
A police officer who kicked and hit a mother as she sat by her sick daughter's hospital bed, leaving the woman with more than 40 injuries, has been cleared by a jury of committing actual bodily harm in the incident.
Metropolitan police officer Warren Luke, 38, was accused of repeatedly kicking and punching the woman when hospital staff had told him that she was refusing to leave, The Guardian reports. Despite this, a jury at Wood Green crown court on Thursday cleared him of committing any crime.
For legal reasons the mother can't be named. She was caring for her daughter, 7, who suffers from cerebral palsy, when the incident occurred at a hospital in London in December, 2013. When she refused to leave, four police officers were summoned, reports.
The jury watched a video which showed the mother explaining the incident.
"You've got to leave, you've got to leave," she said Luke told her
"I kept playing with my daughter and then I saw him moving towards me. He was kicking me
and kicking me. He had one hand on my head. When I fell on the bed he grabbed my hair and banged my head. I was screaming. I couldn't defend myself. My ex-husband ran in and shouted 'why are you kicking my wife?'"
For his part, Luke said that the mother's behavior escalated and he believed the child was in danger.
Luke told the court that instead of using a baton or gas, he decided to strike the woman on her bicep, and use what he termed a "distraction strike" to her face, using his boot. He says his actions were in accordance with his training.
"I did kick out at the left side of her face as trained to do," he said. "My footwear was a boot but it's light."
He was asked how she sustained so many injuries. He replied:
"I can't say exactly where and how her injuries were sustained, I can only say what I did.
Reportedly the woman needed plastic surgery after the incident, and she is said to have taken a year off of work to recover, reports.
"I wouldn't say that I used full force, but I do remember hitting harder because it had no effect," Luke said. "I used police tactics with good reason that were absolutely necessary. I didn't go too far. Whenever a police officer uses force you need to be accountable for it."
Two officers reported Luke to senior staff and he was arrested later that day. In the video played in court, the woman said it seemed as if Luke "wanted to kill" her and that she could hear her daughter crying as the incident happened, The Independent reports.
Prosecuting barrister Samantha Cohen told the jury that he grabbed the woman's hair, punched her on the back and hit her in the head several times.
"She was bleeding heavily from her face," Cohen said. "She offered no resistance to the officer and she slumped downwards to the floor. As she fell, she was still holding her daughter's arm."
Two police constables who also were at the scene testified for the prosecution. Officer Laura Riley wept as she described the scene, and officer Mary Clark described the incident as "just horrific," The Guardian reports.
"Afterwards, security staff told police they were 'appalled' by PC Luke's behaviour," Cohen said. "They thought he had lost his self-control. Another nurse said he had 'beaten her' and another nurse said he had 'attacked' her."
Susannah Stevens, counsel for the defense, claimed that the child's mother shouted and swore at medical staff the day before regarding the child's condition. Reportedly, doctors had once considered turning off her life-support machine.
"You were aggressive," Stevens said. "You were uncontrollable. You went mad, quite simply."
The mother talked to the Guardian and said that her daughter has been sick since she was a newborn and ever since then she has fought hard to keep her alive. At one point the baby girl was on a life-support machine and the child's mother pleaded with doctors not to turn it off.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan police service confirmed that Luke had been cleared of actual bodily harm and noted that a misconduct review will take place.
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