Friday, 4 January 2013

Taken into custody

We arrived at Nottinghill Police Station about 15 minutes later and went through a formal process before I was officially taken into custody, at the counter, where I was asked quite a lot of standard questions. All of my possessions were taken from me. Even scraps of paper were taken off me, my belt, my bag all my money was counted out and noted. They went through the contents of my bag and noted it. Every single item I had was noted and I had to sign a few electronic forms.

They asked me quite a lot of questions about my medical history and other standard questions. And they told me my rights. I was given the opportunity to give them the telephone number of a lawyer which I did, but did not have the chance to speak to her, they would notify her for me.

I was unfamiliar with being taken into custody and it was all quite a shock. I was taken to a room where some photographs were taken of my face, some head on, some from the profile. They also took some DNA from inside my cheek.

I was then taken to a special room to be finger printed where they scanned every finger individually, my palms and then my whole hand.

I was shown to a cell. The policeman told me if I needed anything to ring the buzzer and that otherwise he would come back when they had spoken to the lawyer. He then closed the door and I was locked inside the cell.

I just could not believe what was happening. It was Friday night and here I was locked inside a police cell. No one even knew I was here. The room was blank and there absolutely nothing to do apart from think. I didn't even have a clock or any means of telling the time.

The time ticked by and an officer came and I was handed the phone to a lawyer at Hodge Jones and Allen (by the way this law firm are not very good I would not use them again) who said someone would come from the firm to speak to me. I was shown back to the cell. After quite a long time a police officer came and told me my lawyer had arrived and I then went to a room and spoke to him in private.

From the time I went into the cell to the time I met the lawyer I think a few hours had passed and I spent most of the time walking around the cell in circles, just thinking. I was thinking of any evidence I had to prove my innocence. I ran through the time I spent with Ellie over and over again.

All I had were the messages on my phone and some emails. There was not really much evidence to help at all. I was very angry at her allegation but at the same time thinking of every conceivable solution to prove my innocence. I kept running the story through my head over and over again. That's all I thought about.

During the conversation with my lawyer in the police station, the police officers knocked on the door and then told us that they had to go home and that I would have to be interview in the morning and that I would have to spend the night there.

My lawyer also decided to resume things in the morning as it was quite late.

I was shown back to my cell and didn't sleep at all. I had been accused of rape and I was now in a cell and unable to speak to anybody. Shortly afterwards I asked if I could make a phone call to a friend and was taken to the police station counter. The officers retrieved my mobile phone but didn’t let me hold it, I told them who I wanted to call. They looked him up on phone and  dialled the number on the police station phone.

I didn't want to call my parents as there was little they could do, however I did want to speak to someone, for the sake of my sanity. My friend was familiar with the situation so far and was also spending the weekend with two other friends, which is why I choose him. I called him, but it went to answer phone and I left him a message, which unfortunately he didn't even realise I had left until days later.

I went back to my cell where I tried to get some sleep but couldn't. During my time in the cell the police officers were kind enough to bring me food, water and tea. Unfortunately this also meant that i had to use the cell toilet which is in full view of the peep hole and a camera on the top of the cell. There was no toilet paper and I had to ask a police officer for some toilet paper. There was no toilet seat either but I had to use it and do a no.2 not knowing who was watching. Being accused of rape was shocking and very stressful, but the combination being locked up in a cell also and not knowing what was going to happen next was especially frightening and humiliating.

There was no morning. I was awake all night long. I tried to sleep but couldn't. Every few hours a new police officer would come and check on me and ask if everything was ok, all I wanted to know was what time it was. I had no watch. My sense of time was all over the place. I was extremely disorientated.

It was 8am and I had been awake and not been home for 24hrs. I asked police officer if there was somewhere to wash and was taken out of the cell to a small sink near the police station counter where I took my top off and washed my face chest and arms with toilet paper soaked in water and soap in full view of many other officers and people waiting who were walking past. It was not very pleasant to wash in front of them all.

I returned to my cell where I stayed for several hours until my lawyer arrived at  4pm.

By the time my lawyer arrived I was absolutely exhausted. I had been awake since 8am on Friday and now it was  4pm Saturday. I spent the next couple of hours with him.

My lawyer was also exhausted. He told me that he had some emergency calls in the middle of the night and had only had about two hours sleep.

When we were writing my prepared statement he was so tired he couldn’t even spell correctly. He asking me how to spell the word unconscious that's how exhausted he was. He wrote it out three times on a scrap of paper to reassure himself that he had the correct spelling. When he had written it all out he then asking me if I thought if the statement was alright and did we cover everything? I couldn't believe what iI was hearing. The lawyer was asking me for advice, yet I have no idea to handle these situations. 

The situation seemed to go from bad to worse.

Nottinghill Police Station
Notting Hill Police Station, where I was later interviewed

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