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Hackney police officer accused of abusing mentally ill prisoner

PUBLISHED: 13:08 17 July 2014 | UPDATED: 13:53 17 July 2014

Sgt Charles Pilbeam

Sgt Charles Pilbeam

Archant

A Hackney police sergeant allegedly stamped on a mentally ill prisoner’s toes, pulled him by the ear and dragged him to the floor, saying: “Welcome to Hackney”.

Sgt Charles Pilbeam, 30, forced Abdi Ali-Ahmed to pick scraps of paper on all fours from an interview room floor, Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told.

The officer then allegedly tried to initiate a cover-up, telling trainee constable Cordelle Sailsman not to report the incident at Shoreditch Police Station in Shepherdess Walk.

Two Pcs, Brian Sharkey and Rob Baker, witnessed the events and were interviewed under caution for alleged misconduct. Their accounts have been branded “silent or very vague”.

Ali-Ahmed, who is in his 20s and homeless, had “a difficult childhood” in war-torn Somalia, and suffers from multiple mental health issues.

He was prevented getting dressed after a full strip-search by Pilbeam, it is claimed.

He had not been arrested but was being served with a dispersal notice to leave Hackney, having voluntarily given up a small bag of cannabis.

Pc Sailsman, who is now qualified, said he was “very certain” the ­assaults took place on March 2 last year.

Defence counsel Guy Ladenburg suggested Mr Ali-Ahmed was potentially violent, but Pc Sailsman maintained he was “very compliant” and seated at all times.

Pilbeam admitted he had stood on Mr Ali-Ahmed’s foot for a period, to stop him “kicking out”, and that the level of force was “next to nothing”.

Pc Sharkey testified he had been “frightened and scared” before Pilbeam’s intervention.

Pilbeam suggested Pc Sailsman had been motivated to lie because of “constructive criticism” he had dished out.

He also claimed Cordelle Sailsman had confessed he feared receiving a complaint on the shift in case it hampered his progress to Hendon.

Pilbeam, of Stevenage, Hertfordshire, denies two offences of common assault.

District Judge John Zani will announce a verdict tomorrow.


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