Police officers investigated after assault of Mark Aspinall caught on CCTV

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Three police officers are being investigated after a soldier claimed he was repeatedly beaten while being pinned to the ground.

CCTV footage shows Lance Corporal Mark Aspinall, who was praised for his bravery against the Taleban in Afghanistan earlier this year, being held down by two officers while a third appears to hit him on the back.

Mr Aspinall, 24, was later found guilty of of assaulting the police offices but the convictions have been quashed on appeal after a judge watched a video of the incident.

The nine-minute video, obtained by the Sunday Mirror, shows a drunken Mr Aspinall gesticulating at three police officers in Wigan, Lancashire, in July.

It is claimed that he was mistakenly identified by the officers who had been called to deal with a man causing a nuisance to paramedics in the centre of the town.

Mr Aspinall is then seen tripping as he attempts to run away from the police and then is then held down by three officers in fluorescent yellow jackets.

An officer, identified in court as PC Peter Lightfoot, appears to twice push Mr Aspinall’s head on the ground in the middle of the road.

Two colleagues – PC Richard Kelsall and another named only as Sergeant Russell – pin down his legs.

When Mr Aspinall bites one of the officers legs, PC Lightfoot appears to scrape his face on the road. He then hits Mr Aspinall eight times on the back before he is put in the back of a police van.

Mr Aspinall was convicted of two counts of assault by Wigan magistrates after the three officers read statements that he had been “behaving violently” and “issuing challenges”.

He was given a three-month suspended prison sentence, ordered to serve 200 hours community service and told the pay the officers £250 compensation.

But the conviction was overturned after the video was shown at an appeal hearing at Liverpool Crown Court.

September 1, 2009
David Brown

Source: The Times

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