Wednesday, 24 September 2008

And our happy tale of justice as told by the press

Women cleared of Grange trespass

The Coopers were cleared of all charges laid against them.
A mother and daughter who occupied the home of Dyfed-Powys' former chief constable Terry Grange during a protest have been cleared of trespass.

Lady Lesley Cooper of Bancffosfelin and Kyra Cooper, 26, of Tumble were also found not guilty of criminal damage by magistrates in Carmarthen.

Lady Copper claimed squatters' rights after being let in by an estate agent.

Magistrates ruled police who asked her to leave were not acting with Mr Grange's direct authority.

Magistrates heard that using her sister's name Lady Cooper, 48, arranged a viewing of the property at Meinciau in the Gwendraeth Valley on 26 April this year.

Mr Grange had put it up for sale after retiring from the force last November following allegations he misused a work computer and a corporate credit card.

While estate agent Martin Richards was outside Lady Cooper locked herself, her daughter and 11-day-old granddaughter in the property.

Kyra Cooper told the court she had no idea what her mother was planning but once inside did not want to leave her alone.

Officers were called to the home of the former police chief in April.

Lady Cooper told Mr Richards through the letter box: "We are claiming squatters' rights - please call the police."

She then dragged a piece of wooden furniture to block the front door.

Lady Cooper told the court she acted out of "utter desperation" borne out of an alleged six-year dispute she was involved in with a tenant.

She claimed Mr Grange and the force had refused to record or investigate "race and hate crimes" she alleged were committed against her.

Lady Cooper said she had taken enough food and drink inside Mr Grange's house to last three days.

Mr Richards injured his wrist as he attempted to re-enter the house when it was caught in a door.

But magistrates cleared Kyra Cooper of a separate charge of assault as she told the court she feared for her safety as he had become "annoyed" and "aggressive" and she had not realised his arm was in the way as she pushed the door.

Police were called and after two hours an armed response unit smashed the rear patio windows to gain access.

Both women were arrested and taken to Carmarthen police station.

Former chief constable Terry Grange had put the house up for sale

Appearing on behalf of Kyra Cooper, Carina Hughes said officers "over-reacted".

She said police were in possession of a full set of keys and could simply have unlocked the back door.

"If the police had exercised sheer common sense and used the key that was in their possession for the back door there would not have been any damage," she said.

The women had said they were invited into the house by the estate agent so were not trespassing.

The magistrates accepted their argument that police who asked them to leave were not acting with the direct authority of the home owner - Mr Grange - as they had not spoken to him at that stage.

Speaking after they were cleared Kyra Cooper said: "If Dyfed-Powys Police and Terry Grange had helped my mother we would not be here today."

A tearful Lady Cooper said: "They have tried to discredit me. It [the protest] was the only means I had of getting the world to know."

Asked with hindsight if she would do anything differently she replied: "Take more sandwiches."

1 comment:

Wonky Dog said...

Just catching up on yours news lesley. So glad that this idiotic case was thrown out but what a God damn shambles and a truly horrid experience for you all to go through..........