Met’s riot trauma payout over deformed foot

A car burning in Hackney Central during the riots. Photo Emma Bartholomew

A car burning in Hackney Central during the riots. Photo Emma Bartholomew - Credit: Emma Bartholomew

A charity worker who was mistakenly identified as one of the London rioters has won £10,000 damages from the Met Police for her unjustified arrest.

Janine David, 29, was wrongly identified by an anonymous caller as one of those who looted a sports shop in Tottenham during the August 2011 disorder.

She was arrested and held for two hours, during which time she was traumatised by being made to take off her shoes and reveal her ‘deformed’ feet.

Miss David, of Ashenden Road, Homerton, has toes which are ‘not fully formed’ and told Central London County Court only two or three people had ever seen them before.

Suing the Met, she claimed for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment, and she has now won £10,000 damages after a jury found in her favour.

Speaking afterwards, Miss David said: “No matter what happens, I hope that this case will bring about a change in policing in cases like mine.

“Arrest is a huge thing for some people. I have had panic attacks since, I am always in hospital because of these, I have a heart condition.”

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The jury heard Miss David had been identified anonymously, but the first she knew police wanted to speak to her was when they visited her mother’s home in May 2012.

Once she realised, the psychology graduate called 101 and arranged to go to Bethnal Green Police Station to meet a detective.

When she arrived, she was promptly arrested and strip searched, she told the jury in emotionally-charged evidence.

She was also drug-tested and made to take off her shoes, which was particularly difficult due to her foot condition.

She also worried that the arrest would show up on her record and ruin her chances of getting a job working with vulnerable young people in future.

Put into a cell, she broke down and, amid fears over her heart condition, had to be seen by a nurse before she was released two hours later.

The Met said the only reason for her arrest was the failure to give her address and insisted in evidence that she had been asked.

But the jury disagreed and found that no inquiry as to her home address was made before she was read her rights.

Judge Alan Saggerson said the officer had ‘reasonable grounds’ to suspect Miss David, but the arrest was not necessary.

Damages were agreed at £10,000, but the case will cost the force much more than that in lawyers’ bills with costs estimated at £50,000.