Elderly pastor suffers heart attack in police drugs raid

Hyacinth Brown is still recovering from the heart attack in hospital.

Hyacinth Brown is still recovering from the heart attack in hospital. - Credit: Archant

Family say officers had the “wrong house” and have lodged an official complaint.

Hyacinth Brown is described as a "pillar of the community"

Hyacinth Brown is described as a "pillar of the community" - Credit: Archant

An elderly pastor suffered a heart attack after police burst through her door in an early-morning drugs raid which her family say was a “massive mistake.”

Hyacinth Brown’s relatives have called for a review after the raid on her home in Glenarm Road, Lower Clapton, around 8am on Friday but found nothing.

Officers stormed into the grandmother’s bedroom and ushered her downstairs into her living room before handcuffing her daughter Jacqueline Brown – a reverend for a congregation in Kensington – who had stayed overnight to keep her mother company.

Mrs Brown, who is in her late 70s, immediately felt unwell and an ambulance was called. Paramedics treated her at the scene but she was admitted to hospital a few hours later and doctors found she had suffered a minor heart attack and stroke.

Police were executing a warrant at the address and claim they had “intelligence” indicating there had been drug activity at the property.

But no evidence was found and the raid has left her family and neighbours, who described widow Mrs Brown as a “pillar of the community”, in shock.

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The family are now lodging a complaint to Scotland Yard and the Independent Police Complaints Commission and believe warrant procedures need to change to stop others going through the same ordeal.

Jacqueline said: “I came running down the stairs as I thought someone was breaking in. My mother was terrified. They said surveillance once saw the house selling drugs but they had got the wrong house.”

Another daughter, Sandra Brown, said: “We think she must have started to have the heart attack when then they burst into her room as she couldn’t speak at first.

“My mum was telling them it wasn’t the right house and they still carried on busting through doors and turning things inside out.

“She’s really unhappy about the whole situation, really tearful and emotional. She doesn’t deserve what happened to her.”

Next door neighbour of 26 years, Roy Smith, 59, was also left in disbelief by the raid, for which police asked for access to his back garden.

He said Mrs Brown was a “quiet, religious, family woman” who did lots for her community. “She’s a church lady, the family are not involved in anything like that”, he added.

A police spokesman confirmed officers had obtained a warrant for the raid, but admitted no drugs were found or arrests made. She added: “We are aware an official complaint is being lodged. Under these circumstances it would be inappropriate for us to comment at this time.”

Mrs Brown remains in hospital. It is not known how long it will take for her to recover.