Gatwick drone couple paid out £200k by Sussex Police after false accusation

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Sussex Police have paid the couple falsely arrested for the Gatwick Drone incident £200,000.

The force confirmed that it paid the couple £55,000 in damages and an additional £145,000 to cover legal costs.

When drones were the reported reason for a shutdown of Gatwick Airport in December 2018, armed officers stormed the home of Paul and Elaine Gait, accusing them of being behind the crime.

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The couple were held for 36 hours and were released without charge, subsequently suing Sussex Police for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment.

There has never been a charge for the incident, with police reporting that some so-called drone sightings were actually Sussex Police’s own devices.

In a statement from the couple released by their legal team over the weekend, Mr and Mrs Gait said: “We are delighted to have finally received vindication, it has been a very long fight for justice. It has taken lengthy legal proceedings to obtain resolution from the police and to finally have closure on this distressing time.”

While a letter to the couple from Sussex Police Assistant Chief Constable David Miller said he was “deeply sorry” for the “unpleasantness” the couple had to deal with.

The letter continued: “Unfortunately, when the police carry out their functions on behalf of the public, sometimes innocent people are arrested as part of necessary police investigations in the public interest.

“However, we recognise that things could have been done differently and, as a result, Sussex Police have agreed to pay you compensation and legal costs.”

A BBC News report explained how the force commissioned a “thorough independent review” of the drone incident last year, revealing that 96 people “of interest” were identified, researched and ruled out.

It has since been confirmed that the cost of the operation and subsequent investigation was £790,000.

Tags : airportGatwick
Alex Douglas

The author Alex Douglas

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