Sep 132011

London family subject to brutal police raid speaks out

By Paul Bond – WSWS
13 September 2011

The riots triggered by the police killing of Mark Duggan on August 4 have unleashed a wave of legal repression, including numerous raids by armed response units seeking to arrest alleged rioters. Among the innocent caught up in this trawl were Delroy Gardner and Leonie Reece, when their family home in Harlesden, northwest London was targeted.

Leonie Reece and Delroy Gardner with 10-month-old Rio

Gardner is a local community youth worker. Members of a church, they have tried, as Delroy put it, “to live a quiet decent life”, offering positive opportunities for their three young children.

The couple were in bed watching a film, when armed police battered down the front door. Delroy was handcuffed at gunpoint and held in a police van. Leonie suffered a panic attack.

The children were forced from the house by armed officers. Their 10-month old son Rio, who had recently suffered a chest infection, was kept outside wearing just his vest. Police prevented neighbours coming out to assist him or the family.

Delroy told the World Socialist Web Site, “I’ve never seen anything like it in all my life”.

At about 2am on Wednesday August 17, they heard banging. Thinking someone was trying to break in, Delroy went downstairs. As he reached the foot of the stairs there was a bigger bang. The door gave way slightly, allowing Delroy to see guns outside. There was another bang and the door came off.

Delroy described the scene: “I was looking at about eight to nine armed men. There was no indication that they were police. They were all in balaclavas. All I could see were eyes and guns. There were lights and the guns pointing all over my body. There were men on their marks already. There was a man on his knees all ready to shoot. A man was stooping down, a man was covering him. A man was over my neighbour’s drive covering the ones at the doorway. They blocked off the road from the bottom to the top, back and front.”

Speaking quietly because of the shock, Delroy told the gunmen, “You can’t do this because I’ve got my kids in the house.”

At this point they started shouting, “Armed police! Turn around and put your hands on your head”.

Delroy did so, but still had no real indication as to the identity of the gunmen beyond their shouted instructions:

“I still need to know who these people are. These guys I’ve seen [before] actually have a little logo that says ‘Police’. But these guys were clean as a penny, they had nothing. They could be a random guy on the street as far as I’m concerned. They could be anybody.”

Of the cars outside, they said, only one was marked as a police vehicle, and they only saw four officers with identifying logos. No officer showed them any identification. Delroy described his confusion about who they were:

“No one came to me, even when they finished, and showed us a badge. I don’t know who is who.”

Delroy thought he was going to be killed. The officers handcuffed him and took him to an unmarked car down the road. His wrists are still swollen from the cuffs.

Leonie was still sitting on her bed and saw the lights of the gunsights in the hallway. Confused by the noise, their three-year old son Zion woke up and was running up and down. Leonie said the police were “shouting at him, telling him to keep still, ‘Armed police, keep still’. How can they tell him to keep still? A three-year old?”

The police told Leonie to bring the children downstairs. “They were all still pointing their guns,” said Leonie. “They’re telling us to come outside, but they won’t move. I had to squeeze through them.”

When Zion would not leave, the officers started shouting at him to come out. “He wouldn’t move, obviously because of the guns pointing towards him”.

Leonie eventually had to pull him from the house. Zion has been badly traumatised by the raid. He has trouble sleeping, and his toilet training has been set back dramatically.

All the family have suffered. Delroy has been nervous and unable to sleep, experiencing stress-related headaches and hair-loss. He has found this emotionally devastating. To date they have received no assistance with their requests for counselling as a family group.

The claustrophobia and the smell of the guns triggered a panic attack in Leonie, and she had to be taken to an ambulance. The children were taken to another unmarked car, separate from their parents. Before leaving the house Leonie put a blanket round 10-month old son, Rio, who had just finished treatment for pneumonia. While she was in the ambulance Rio was taken out of the car without the blanket. Neighbours say he was kept out in the cold wearing just his vest, but police prevented them from coming out to wrap him up. He subsequently caught another chest infection.

Delroy describes the treatment of the children as “just unacceptable”.

Officers said they had received a tip-off there were gun parts and firearms in the house, and that the shed was full of goods stolen during the riots. They have not given any further information about this tip-off. When Leonie heard police breaking into the shed, she offered them the key. They refused.

The house was searched while Delroy and Leonie were outside. When they were allowed back in, it was in chaos and police continued searching. (See pictures at the Kilburn Times.)

Leonie asked about the damage. An officer said the police would fix it if they found nothing in their search, but told them they would have to lodge a complaint. Leonie assumed the police would secure the front door. They did not.

The Metropolitan Police told the BBC they had given the couple “clear guidance” on how the door would be fixed, even though they had not received a complaint. They also insisted they had advised the couple of the reasons for the raid and their rights.

Leonie and Delroy were only told about the warrant as the police were finally leaving, shortly before 4am. The warrant mentions their right to have someone observe the search. They were not advised of this before the search began, which is another of their outstanding questions.

One officer said, “The warrant’s on the table”, told them to ring their housing association about the door, and left saying “have a good night”. Delroy asked, “How can we have a good night without a door?”

Since the raid the couple have been visited by many police officers. Delroy is dismissive of their interest. “All of a sudden everybody is our friend: that’s not acceptable. They came here, but none of them was really interested. They just wanted to cover their arses.”

He described the police as, “like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. They’re not really protecting us”.

Community Support Officers visited their neighbours to say the raid was a mistake. Delroy said the police are trying “to reassure them they won’t be treated like that, but a lot of people are scared.”

Leonie added that all the neighbours were shocked: “They said if it could happen to us it could happen to them, because we’re not that kind of people and they’re really scared.”

At Delroy’s request Chief Superintendent Matthew Gardner, Brent Police borough commander, came and give the couple a written and verbal apology. He also submitted a complaint on their behalf, but they did not see its content. When he finally did get back to the couple, Delroy thought he did not clarify the outstanding questions.

Delroy Gardner and Leonie Reece are shocked and confused by their treatment. As Delroy put it, “I was in my place and in my time when they came in and put me down… Are we paying people just to come and kill us?”

“I don’t think if I was a billionaire they would come here like this,” he added. “The way they treat my family was like we were wild animals and we’d got away into a public area and we’re just killing and eating people.”

 Posted by at 6:07 am
Jun 052011

When Ian Puddick, a self-employed London plumber employing 20 people, learned of the long-standing affair between his wife and her boss (we’ll call him Mr X for now), a Director and Board member  of  the worlds largest re-insurance broker (Company IB for now), which had been facilitated by improper use of the Director’s expense account, he was both angry and upset. He made a single contact with the Mr X by telephone informing him that he knew of the affair and generally conversing in a manner to be expected in the circumstances. He was told to mind his own business; that Mr X had nothing to say to him;  and not to call again or else….. Ian then contacted a number of the Directors clients and informed them that the Director was “… a person of no integrity”.

Big mistake! It turned Ian into a company risk, to be managed and mitigated accordingly – and the outfit retained to manage and mitigate Company IB’s risks just happened to be one of the worlds most notorious providers of private spying and covert intelligence/dirty tricks know-how – to those with deep enough pockets (we’ll call it ‘Company K’  for now). In a call from a pay-as-you-go mobile phone, Ian was told by a director of Company K – “you have no idea who you’re fucking with, we have deep, deep pockets and we will fuck you like you have never been fucked before.”

Here is a brief resume of the events that quickly followed:

  1. July 2009. Mr X complains to Sussex police (the county of Mr X’s domicile) that his clients have been contacted by Ian who has slandered him. Sussex police decline to get involved as they believed the issue to be civil not criminal. They also noted that if they did prosecute, Mr X would likely not turn up in court
  2. Unbeknown to Ian until the court discovery of documents process months later, a secret application to the high court for access to Ian’s telephone and banking records is granted to Company K and monitoring of all his telephone traffic, personal, employees and business begins.
  3. 12 August 2009. Ian’s home, his business premises and those of his accountant are raided by a team of armed anti-terrorist police (Google Operation Bohan). All his personal and business computers, phones GPS’s are seized and sent to the high tech specialist crime laboratory for forensic analysis. Ian himself is arrested and volunteers the above information about the extent of his actions, in a short interview with no lawyer present. He is released on police bail.
  4. September 2009. Ian answers bail alone and is dealt with in the manner that the police know they can get away with when seeking to intimidate someone who has never been charged nor even seen the inside of a police station before. Again there is no lawyer present and the interview is not video-taped. Ian is neither cautioned nor charged.
  5. October 2009. First court hearing to consider continued bail conditions pending further police ‘investigations’. Ajourned due to mislaid court papers but police made to look foolish over unsubstantiated and forced withdrawal of suggestions, made in support of onerous bail conditions, that Ian had a history of threatening violence.
  6. November /December 2009. Ian’s business suppliers are contacted anonymously and informed that his business is in financial trouble. His accountants are called and told that Ian is a convicted drugs dealer. Ian continues to receive threatening and mocking anonymous calls.
  7. January/February 2010. The Chairman of Company A authorises an internal investigation into Mr X’s expenses which confirms there has been a misuse of funds.
  8. 22 February 2010. Mr X is informed that an internal company disciplinary process is to begin. Mr X resigns.
  9. 23 March 2010. Mr X meets with City of London police and informs them that he does not wish to proceed with the case against Ian. Ian is able to collect all his computer and other seized equipment the same day. (running a 20 man business with all your business computer records missing for 7 months is no picnic).
  10. 10 April 2010. Ian is so outraged at what he regards as gross abuse of power on the part of Companies IB and K, together with clear police complicity in it, that he produces an explanatory video and blogs about it.
  11. 10 May 2010 Ian’s home and office are again raided – this time by City of London police murder squad officers. He is arrested and charged with a criminal offense under the 1997 Harassment Act. He is released on police bail one of the conditions of which is that he must not contact Mr X nor name him on any website.
  12. The court hearing is set for an indeterminate date in the future (since confirmed as 15 June 2011).
  13. 10 December 2010. Ian’s home is broken into. All the case papers pertinent to his defence (12 ring-binders) are removed and a hidden bug is planted. Nothing else is missing. Local police confirm that it was a professional job. The firm that found the bug for him describe it as 20 year old technology which would require a listener to be no more than about 100 metres away. It was operational when found.
  14. 28 February 2011 Court hearing adjourned to 7 March 2011
  15. 7 March 2011 Court hearing adjourned to 15 June 2011
  16. 23 May 2011. Ian is pulled over by an unmarked police car in Muswell Hill North London and handcuffed whilst police make inquiries. They’re  Metropolitan, NOT  City of London coppers and  indicate  they have information suggesting the van he is driving is stolen. It isn’t of course and, after checking Ian’s information concerning his forthcoming court case etc,  he released with apologies and best wishes for 15 June.

Ian is rapidly wising up to the world of corporate risk management and mitigation.

Apart from his first telephone call and the delivery of a letter to Mr X’s wife informing her of her husband’s affair, Ian has made no contact whatsoever with Mr X – despite what Ian believes to have been a number of  ‘agent-provocateur’ -like attempts to get him to phone Company IB and Company X telephone numbers.

But in 21st century Orwellian Britain, it seems that blog posts setting out provable facts (whilst deliberately and consciously withholding many of the more damaging ones since his beef is now with an outrageous abuse of Corporate-Police power) are sufficient to mobilise £multi-million police operations against you – provided they accord with the interests of deep deep pocketed companies like IB and X of course. It seems like there is a  particular brand of justice that is already bought and paid for….

But maybe we should reserve judgement for a week or two.

Ian’s court hearing is set for Wednesday 15 June 2011. He is charged with harassment under Section 2 of the Harassment Act 1997 in that he “published a website or blog which discredits a person personally or professionally”. The police have confirmed that they are seeking a custodial sentence.

  • All Ian’s videos are available on YouTube here
  • Main WikiSpooks wiki-article here
 Posted by at 4:19 pm
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