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Police Staff Fined Over Prisoner 'Torture'
Two members of Durham Constabulary staff who held and twisted the arms of a prisoner to make him answer their questions have been fined by magistrates.
CCTV footage taken in the custody suite of Peterlee police station last March shows David Healer screaming in pain during the assaults by Sergeant Stephen Harvey and civilian detention officer Michael Mount.
The pair, who have not been suspended but have been moved to other duties, were each found guilty of two counts of common assault in March.
Mr Healer, a 48-year-old DIY store manager, claims he was suffering an angina attack during his time in custody, and at one stage thought he was going to die.
Harvey, a veteran of 30 years in the police, was fined £400 for taking the lead in what magistrate Oliver Johnson referred to as: "A sustained and repeated attack on a vulnerable man in custody."
Mount, a former army staff sergeant, was fined £200 for his "subordinate" role.
Both men were ordered to pay £50 compensation to Mr Healer.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission said the mens' actions "could be described as a form of torture", and were "completely unacceptable".
Speaking outside court after the sentencing, father-of-six Mr Healer said he was happy with the outcome.
He said: "At the end of the day, it's the consequences of what they did in society that's going to affect them.
"It's a shame that two people have ruined their careers over this."
Stephen Gowland, Mr Healer's solicitor, said: "Mr Healer suffered a great injustice but today at least he can be content that justice has been done."
He added: "My client's life has been affected greatly by the treatment he received both mentally and physically and he now has to live with severe pain for the rest of his life, due to the serious spinal injuries incurred in this incident."
Harvey, 50, and Mount, 61, both refused to comment about the case when they left court.
Durham Police Deputy Chief Constable Mike Barton read a statement from the force describing the behaviour of his two staff members as "below the standards expected by the force".
He added: "Without wishing to condone the actions of these particular members of staff, I must point out that custody can be a very challenging environment for our staff.
"They regularly have to deal with people who are drunk, or violent, or both.
"We process around 20,000 people a year and, in the vast majority of these cases, there are no issues."
Mr Healer said he will now pursue a civil claim for damages.