Gatwick drone arrests: Sussex Police pays out £200,000

Gatwick drone arrests: Sussex Police pays out £200,000

Paul and Elaine Gait said they felt it

Caption of the image

Paul and Elaine Gait said they felt “violated” by the Sussex police at the time

A police force paid £ 200,000 for the arrest of a couple falsely accused of causing chaos at Gatwick airport with a drone.

Armed agents raided Paul and Elaine Gait’s home in December 2018 and detained them for 36 hours after the drones caused the airport to close repeatedly.

The couple were released without charge and sued the Sussex police for arrest and false prison.

Gait’s legal team said the force had agreed on an out-of-court settlement.

Copyright of the image

Caption of the image

The airport chiefs said 120,000 people, on arrival or in flight, were unable to travel

Sussex police confirmed that they paid the couple the £ 55,000 in damages, and law firm Howard Kennedy said it charged an additional £ 145,000 in legal fees to the force.

The flights were canceled in droves for a three-day period, as police investigated several reported drone sightings.

No one has ever been charged and the police claimed that some drone sightings may have been the same Sussex police ship.

Twelve armed officers swooped over Mr and Mrs Gait’s house, even though they had no drones and had been at work during the reported sightings.

In a statement released by their legal team on Sunday, the couple said, “We are delighted to have finally received the claim, it has been a very long struggle for justice.

“It took long legal proceedings to get the police resolved and to finally settle this distressing moment.”

Copyright of the image
Getty Images

Caption of the image

Anti-drone equipment was used at Gatwick airport after the drone stopped flights intermittently for days

In a letter to the couple, Sussex chief police officer David Miller said he was “deeply sorry” for the “unpleasantness” the couple experienced and acknowledged that it would be “traumatic”.

He added: “Unfortunately, when the police perform their duties on behalf of the public, innocent people are sometimes arrested as part of the necessary police investigation in the public interest.

“However, we recognize that things could have been done differently and as a result, Sussex police agreed to pay compensation and attorney fees.”

The force commissioned a “thorough independent review” of the drone incident last year.

He revealed that 96 “people of interest” were identified, researched and excluded during the investigation and the cost of the operation and subsequent investigation was £ 790,000.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.