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Romford police accused of beating men who asked for help

PC’s Archie Payne and Jack Wood deny assaulting Scott Rooney near Romford station (Credit: CPS)

Two Romford police officers are accused of beating a pubgoer after he complained one of them of struck his friend over the head with a baton.

Police Constable’s Archie Payne and Jack Wood, both 26, are in the middle of a trial at Hendon Magistrates’ Court for attacking two engineers who say they asked for help.

CCTV captured the moment PC Wood ran towards an altercation near Romford station and strike Jake Smith, 26, over the head “three to four times” on 5 January 2020.

The court heard Mr Smith suffered two wounds to his head, 1.5cm and 1cm in length, as well as 6cm of bruising to his chest wall.

 

CCTV of the incident outside The Worlds Inn pub on South Street, Romford (Credit: CPS)

Mr Smith had been rushing to assist his friend Scott Rooney, 26, after he was “jumped” by a gang of “rowdy boys” who had previously targeted them in a Weatherspoon’s on South Street.

The men had asked the officers for protection but were refused and told “you are adults”, the court heard.

After Mr Rooney tried to take a picture of their shoulder numbers, the officers are said to have beaten him.

Wearing a grey hoodie while giving evidence from his bedroom in Essex, Mr Rooney told the court yesterday: “I came face to face with the people who we were with in the pub.

“It was a bit blurry but I was suddenly on the floor. I don’t know if I fell or got hit.

“I stumbled up and saw Jake’s head split open on the floor.

“He was standing there holding his head and there was blood everywhere. I said ‘who did that’ or ‘how did that happen?’

“He said ‘he did it’ and looked in the direction of the police officer.

Mr Smith suffered two wounds to his head, 1.5cm and 1cm in length, as well as 6cm of bruising to his chest wall, the court heard (Credit: CPS) 

“Then I walked up to the police officer and asked him if I could get a picture of his numbers because I didn’t think it was right that he had hit someone over the head with his baton.

“He said his number, but his collar was in front [of the numbers] so I moved it.”

The court saw CCTV of Mr Rooney moving PC Wood’s lapel out of the way to take a picture. PC Payne warns “you don’t need to touch him” and moves his hand out the way.

“That’s a bit overkill mate,” says Mr Rooney and the officer replies “I’ll tell you what – we’ll deal with you”.

The officers then appear to grab Mr Rooney’s throat, push him to the wall and lie on top of him.

“After that the next thing I was on the floor with two officers holding me down,” continued Mr Rooney.

“They threw me towards the floor. They had their body weight on top of me, pushing me against the pavement.

“As I landed on the floor, my right arm was underneath my body getting pressed to the ground and I was unable to move it.

“I wasn’t there causing trouble. As you can see I’m quite calm, I’m not aggressive in any way and I just thought that was uncalled for.

“I had a big bruise on the side of my head, a big red lump and a big bruise.”

Mr Rooney and Mr Smith befriended 25-year-old Georgia Marney and her sister Mae in Hornchurch that evening before they all headed to The Worlds Inn pub.

Giving evidence via video-link from her bedroom yesterday, the junior project manager said a group of “rowdy boys” were staring at her younger sister.

“They got face to face and nose to nose with her.

“Scott said no, you have crossed a line now and you need to get away from us. He was putting himself between my sister and one of the rowdy boys and they were staring, they were very threatening and in our faces.”

She said Mr Rooney called the bouncer, who chucked out the three troublemakers while they stayed for a final drink.

When they left the pub it is said they spotted the gang, which had grown to between six and eight people, lurking near the bus stop where Mr Rooney was headed.

Ms Marney told the court she approached the officers and asked “can you follow [Mr Rooney to the bus stop] because we think something’s going to happen. We think he is going to get jumped.

“Their response was ‘well you are adults, what do you want us to do?’ I said ‘I know but there is going to be trouble’. Jake said [Mr Rooney] was going to get jumped. The officers said ‘he’s your friend, you go and look after him’.

“They weren’t interested. It was like ‘well, what do you want us to do about it?’

Ms Marney did not see the alleged interactions but said she was surprised to see one of her friends covered in blood and the other being restrained by officers.

She told the court: “‘None of it made any sense. The fact that they were now lying on top of Scott, it didn’t look right. One of them was lying on his neck with his whole body. He couldn’t move his head or his neck.

“We said ‘we told you something was going to happen so why is [Jake] the one who was hit over the head?’

“There was a lot of blood everywhere, it was falling from his head. The cut was quite prominent.

“He was just saying ‘I was just swinging it around what do you expect me to do?’

“He said ‘I’m not having this conversation with you’.

“I think he honestly realised how bad the injury was because he was very defensive. There was so much blood.

“I asked the officers to leave because they were just aggravating the situation, and they did.

“They came back later and said ‘we have reviewed the footage and we are arresting [Mr Rooney] for affray’.

The court was shown footage of Ms Marney talking to the officers while Mr Smith was being treated in an ambulance.

One officer can be heard telling her: “You are all grown adults, you could have turned around and walked the other way.”

When she retorted “we told you what was going to happen”, he replied “what do you expect us to do?”

“You are the law,” she said.

PC Wood, based at Romford Police Station, denies one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm against Mr Scott and one count of assault by beating against Mr Rooney.

PC Payne, also based at Romford Police Station, denies one count of common assault against Mr Rooney.

The trial, which has run over its two-day time slot, will continue at City of London Magistrates’ Court on 14 May.

Both defendants remain on unconditional bail.

For more on this story, and the latest on our other local and national news, listen to Time 107.5FM

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