Student struggled to breathe during wrongful arrest in Welsh city

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Student struggled to breathe during wrongful arrest in Welsh city

A university student who was wrongfully arrested by South Wales Police has been handed £4,000 in damages.

Uyioghosa Emmanuel Aigbe, known as Emmanuel, said he was walking through Cardiff city centre following an evening spent with friends when he claimed he found himself on the floor, struggling for breath, then being handcuffed, with no explanation for what was happening to him

He said he had only been in Wales for two weeks and had a large amount of cash on him as he was looking to put a deposit down on an apartment.

The University of South Wales student said he was unfamiliar with his surroundings and needed to use the toilet urgently. He said he walked into a nearby building foyer to try to find a public toilet, leaving it approximately 60 seconds later after realizing there was no facility there.

He said he was then speaking to a taxi driver to try to get home when he claimed he felt someone grab him from behind.

Emmanuel claimed he struggled to breathe during the incident and was unable to see as his cap was pushed over his eyes. He claimed he ended up on the floor, still struggling for breath.

He claimed he was then handcuffed which was when he realised it was the police who were restraining him.

When he arrived at the police station, Emmanuel said he was told he was a suspect in a burglary, leaving him completely shocked. He claimed he was placed into a police cell where he sat for five hours in considerable pain.

The next morning, he said he was interviewed with his solicitor present.

After viewing CCTV footage of his arrest, he said the solicitor advised him to make a complaint.

Emmanuel was released under investigation but claimed he had his money seized.

He attended the Royal Gwent Hospital due to his pain and said he was told he had soft tissue damage.

Emmanuel said he approached Collingbourne Hennah, a specialist in civil action against the police, which successfully pursued a claim against South Wales Police and recovered £4,000 in damages, together with legal costs in connection with the incident, which happened on September 22, 2019, at around 5am.

Emmanuel claimed that during his arrest he heard no communication from the police officers to tell him what was happening, “what I’m meant to have done, and that made me understand what was happening”.

“There was no restraint from me, I wasn’t forceful. That was what happened, it took them about five hours to let me know what happened. For me, it was not a nice way to be treated coming into the UK,” he claimed.

“So, I think my trust in the police has been a bit compromised at the moment.”

A spokesman for South Wales Police, said: “Officers responded to reports of a burglary in Cardiff city centre and arrested a man who had been seen on CCTV entering the building.

“It was later confirmed that no burglary had taken place and the man was released from police custody.

“We acknowledge that a mistake was made in arresting this man for burglary and a full debrief of the incident to identify any opportunities for learning by South Wales Police is taking place and we remain absolutely committed to taking those forward.”

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