In highlight to what is happening in the public domain at present, misogyny and police brutality, I wanted to tell you my story.
In July 1999, I was 38 years of age working full time and married to John. I was a Labour Councillor for the Park Estate. I am a white Welsh woman, At that time I had never ever been in trouble with the police and had not had any dealings with the police either.
It was a warm afternoon, clear skies. I travelled by train to Cardiff with three friends. I wore light green vest, dark green cotton shorts and walking boots. No bag but kept money in my back pocket of my shorts. None of us owned a mobile phones back then.
We sat outside ‘O’Neil’s’ pub, Cardiff was busy with people I drank white wine, my friends drank beer and coke. After an hour we made our way to ‘The Goat Major’ at the end of St Mary’s Street towards the Castle. I remember going upstairs to use the ladies and looking out towards the castle and saw a queue forming, a colourful snake like queue that was the length of the castle wall. There were many females and the odd male. I felt happy and excited, excited to see Bryan Adams performing live. I told my three friends a large queue was forming and it was best we go now.
The late afternoon warm sun kept us company, we joked and laughed. I had three small glasses of wine, my friends had three drinks of what they drank. Inside the Castle grounds many people wearing summer wear mingled, there were beer tents, merchandise tents selling Bryan Adams music and tee shirts and many burgher vans. The smell of beer, onions and laughter filled the air. I bought Bryan Adams tee shirt and wrapped it round the belt loop of my shorts. We had an hour before Bryan Adams came on stage. I told my friends I was going on a wander. I made my way down the front it being an open air concert no seats allocated you could sit anywhere. I stood by the barrier, and felt happy and looked forward to the live concert. Suddenly a dark haired attractive woman shouted at me and said I trod on her foot, I disagreed with her. She became vocal, abusive and pushed me and I pushed her back. She shouted to a medium height, stocky bouncer, who was the other side of the barrier. I noticed the bouncer and the woman were talking minutes earlier, she knew the man.
I am pushed to the barrier and cannot move the woman shouted again at her friend / partner the bouncer. The bouncer grabbed me from behind and pulled me over the barrier. I was disorientated and in shock, the shock turned to anger and I told the man off for handling me the way he did and I demanded to be allowed to go back into the concert. He refused and radioed to other bouncers. A female bouncer with long dark hair in her early 30’s came. I pleaded my case and told her I have friends at the concert they will be concerned as to my whereabouts and please, please can I go back in. I was refused and led away between the old Cardiff Castle and the exit. I refused to move and became tearful.
A policeman came, he was over 6ft tall, blond muscular and looked very Nordic. I 5 ft 4 inches tall, size 12 to 14. I cried to the policeman and said that I had not done anything wrong and my friends will be concerned about me. I was panicking my heart was racing and I was in terrible distress.
The South Wales police officer asked me to leave, and not in a polite way. I pleaded with him again. The police officer shouted in my face so loudly I jumped back. He shouted “SHUT UP” He then grabbed my hands pulled them behind my back and then twisted them put handcuffs on me and frog marched me towards a police van, he opened the door and threw me in!
I lay on the floor in shock crying and in pain and I could not stand up. I do not know how long I was on the floor before the police van moved. The van stopped he opened the door the air felt good but it was NOT to last!
I walked into Cardiff Central police station crying and my hands still twisted behind my back handcuffed. I am asked my details but I am so distressed.
My hands were finally released and I was taken into another room with a blond female officer who appeared friendly but you cannot go my appearances! I was taken into a cell and the door slammed shut! I became hysterical. I could not use my hands but I managed to take my boot off and banged the cell door and cried to be released. A male police officer pulled open the flap and shout “Valley scum, whore, slag and my husband does not want to know me and does not care” I still continued to bang the cell door and cried to be released. Male police officers continued to abuse me verbally through the flap in the cell door. Suddenly the cell door swung open I do not know what happened to me.
I lay weeping on a bed no boots they were taken and my money too. I do not recall being man handled in the cell by these officers, I do not know why either. Later an older woman opened the flap and I begged her to open the door as I suffer with claustrophobia! She did and made me tea.
I saw a doctor and was asked had I taken drugs and was I drunk? I said no to both and that I do not smoke either. Photos were taken of me and I was to be charged and a date was fixed for me to appear in court. My money was in a plastic bag, my managed to get my boots on but could not tie up the laces because my hands were badly swollen. I was allowed to phone my auntie who lived in Leckwith and book a taxi. All the time the desk sergeant watched me struggle.
The night air was warm but I shivered in fear as I waited for a taxi. As the taxi stopped I dropped the plastic bag that had my money in. I became distressed the driver got out of the taxi, he picked up the bag helped me into the taxi and fixed the seat belt. The taxi driver refused any money and told me the F….ing times he had seen what the police do in their brutality.
I arrived at my aunties in an emotional state she held me and we both cried. My cousin her son a young teenager said “The Coppers do this all the time Ju” I am in shock, have had no sleep and cannot think straight.
John came at 8am Saturday 24th July. John was horrified when he saw me ! He was angry and took me back to the police station to make a complaint. I was hysterical and terrified the police would lock me up again!
At the police station John was angry and we were taken into another room and a senior officer immaculately dressed dealt with us. John told him that I had never been in trouble had who had done this to my wife’s hands, arms and legs? The Senior office lied when he told John that I assaulted six police officers. John turned to me and looked at me in distain. I felt sick and said “I have no memory of this but what I do know is that I am not capable of any kind of violence!” John’s face said it all and a deep sense of shame washed over me and I felt utter despair!
We arrived home I asked John did he believe me. We both stared at each other and John said yes I believe you. We hugged and cried. John took me to our doctor’s surgery that was open on a Saturday. Our doctor saw my hands and arms and cried and I cried too. He told me to go to Caerphilly Miners and we did. At the hospital the female doctor who was treating me said “I know who did this the bastard police!” I wept again.
We arrived at the court. We had never been in a court and did not know what to expect. We did not expect a row of police officers! They sat outside the court room sneering at me. Inside the court room I had truth on my side and I pleaded not guilty and the police officers who were there to intimidate me were not happy!
John had an old school friend who had retired from CID. We made arrangements to visit him. We were told that there was CCTV at the station and the cells! It took us months to get the video, finally we had the video! I have to repeat again I have no recollection of what the police did to me in the cell it was as if I had passed out and to this day March 2023 I still have no memory.
The video showed me in distress crying at the police reception desk. Later me banging the cell with my boot and then of six officers barged in grabbed me pushed me on the bed and hitting me! They took my boots off and the money. In the video there is no footage of me being violent, only crying and in great distressed.
It beggars belief that the CPS continued TO PROSECUTE ME BUT THEY DID!
From 1999 to 2001, many times I would attend court to be told that some officers could not make it and my case would be adjourned. I would lose a days pay and still had to pay the solicitor from Caerphilly Town his fees. One by one the South Wales police officers withdrew their charges except one! two and half years later the police had a barrister representing the one and only officer. I had the video, my friend who was with me at the concert came as witness to say I was not drunk, our ex CID friend came as a character witness. Those in the know postponed the case to the afternoon, my friend had to go back to work. Our retired CID friend remained. The woman who caused the fracas at the concert and the bouncer who pulled me over the barrier never came, I never saw them only the female bouncer with long dark hair and a short petite female bouncer who I had never seen before and the one remaining police officer who was the desk sergeant on the night of the 23rd July.
I kept repeating to the police barrister please look at the video when he kept calling me a drunk. The magistrate told the one and only police officer there is no evidence of a ripped shirt or violence from me to him. I was told that police officer had a caution but I do not think so! I in my innocents I did not realise that security guards and bouncers are thick in with police!
It took me a number of years to clear my name!
This is the first time in 24 years I have written about what South Wales police force did to me! I am a pacifist, pro peace and I believe the world is not colour and there is one world and the race is called humanity! To this day I still cannot remember or feel what those police officers did to me in that cell! When I look back I recall the shame I felt and how desperate I was to clear my name and to put the awful episode behind me. Sadly what is going on today brought it back and that is why I have told my story.
I am no longer afraid of the police and do not need to be next to an exit when I go out socially. I do believe that not all police officers are bad but the few that are bad taint the good honest police officers!