Three Bedfordshire Police officials, including an Indian-origin officer, was fired on Monday (22) for lying about the circumstances that led to a student being in permanent vegetative state.
PCs Hannah Ross, Sanjeev Kalyan and Nicholas Oates were found guilty of gross misconduct for lying about what the incident that left Julian Cole in a paralysed condition. They have been dismissed from the force and Sgt Andrew Withey was given a final written warning after being found guilty of misconduct at a hearing in Stevenage.
Cole, a former athlete and sports science student at the University of Bedfordshire, was 19 years old when he was injured during a scuffle with the police officers. The 25-year-old is now paralysed and requires round-the-clock care in a nursing home.
Cole was restrained first by a nightclub bouncer and then by police outside Elements nightclub in 2013 after he was thrown out of the venue and kept going back to ask for a refund. Cole broke his neck when police officers tackled him and he immediately went into a cardiac arrest and stopped breathing.
He was dragged into a police van and taken to Greyfriars police station before paramedics were.
Ross, Oates and Kalyan falsely claimed that Cole had been able to walk to the police van. However, witnesses and CCTV footage showed Cole being carried with his legs dragging on the ground.
They also claimed he had been able to move his legs.
In a statement to the media, Cole’s mother Claudia said: “When we first saw Julian in a coma and a life support machine, five and a half years ago, and the police officer said to us that he had been ‘chatty’ in the police van, we suspected a cover-up.
“This tribunal decision makes it clear that not only did the officers lie about the event involving Julian, but they showed an inhuman indifference to his welfare. Clearing away the lies about what happened that night enabled us to get closer to the truth, and we won’t stop until we know who put Julian into a vegetative state, and until they have to answer for what they did in a criminal court.”
The Crown Prosecution Service has said no criminal charges will be brought.
Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Sebire said: “This misconduct hearing focused on the actions of our officers in the care given to Mr Cole and their honesty and integrity in the events following his injury. I apologise that their conduct following the incident fell well short of what we expect at Bedfordshire Police.
‘Honesty and integrity is vital in policing. The public should be able trust that officers will always be truthful and open and act professionally at all times. Police officers must display the highest standards of integrity and truthfulness and three of our officers have faced the consequences of being found not to have done that today.”