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