Ex-soldier's terrifying ordeal at hands of Derbyshire cop

Gareth Clark
Gareth Clark

A Chesterfield army veteran who went through a terrifying ordeal at the hands of a Derbyshire police inspector has won £2,500 in compensation.

Gareth Clark was falsely imprisoned by Inspector David Nash, who followed him to work one morning in an unmarked police car.

Almost two years later, Derbyshire police have admitted liability for false imprisonment after a full investigation was carried out.

Police say "advice" was given to the officer following a disciplinary hearing.

Mr Clark, who hit the headlines in 2017 for saving four people's lives in two years, told of how he now suffers with paranoia following the police incident.

The 37-year-old dad-of-two said he was on his way to work in Matlock in October 2017 when he overtook a car which he says was travelling at "less than 10mph".

The incident happened on double white lines and he then noticed he was being followed "quite aggressively" by a Mercedes, which continued to tail him for several miles.

He told DerbyshireLive: "When I got to work I was getting my stuff together when a man came up to the window wearing a fleece.

"He knocked on the window and when I got out he spun me round like in an American cop movie.

"I said what are you doing and he said 'you're under arrest for contravening a solid white line system'."

Mr Clark, said he showed "no signs of aggression" and asked the man to prove who he was.

He also offered his name and address.

He said the officer "unzipped his fleece" and showed him two pips on his shoulder.

Mr Clark said: "He did it right outside my place of work so everyone was looking.

"Then he took me into a derelict part of Matlock police station and put me in a room which wasn't kitted out, it was like an old store room.

"I thought I was going to get beaten up. I thought it was a set up."

When Mr Clark was left alone in the room, he turned on the recorder on his phone.

Mr Clark said: "When he came back in I asked why I was being detained. He told me I wasn't under arrest but if I left the room I would be arrested the minute I tried to leave.

"He rang someone who must've been in HR about my previous convictions for having a fight in town when I was young.

"He was sniggering at me and laughing. I told him I was in the army for 12 years and was also a bodyguard and he laughed and said 'you're a security guard are you?'.

"There was lots of forwards and backwards, he kept me in there for an hour."

When Mr Clark was allowed to leave, he went straight to Chesterfield police station and handed in the recording of the incident. He was told that the officer, who he learned was Inspector Nash, had filled out arrest paperwork.

Later, Mr Clark was told that the charges had been dropped "due to evidential difficulties".

In February 2018, Derbyshire Constabulary’s Professional Standards Department upheld complaints made by Mr Clark that Inspector Nash was “cocky, unprofessional and his behaviour resulted in [Mr Clark] feeling powerless and scared".

Inspector Nash was found to have a case to answer for misconduct.

He confessed to having a "meltdown" and letting his anger get the better of him, a report on the hearing said.

Mr Clark contacted legal firm Irvings Law to pursue a claim for compensation and Derbyshire police have agreed to pay out £2,500 for false imprisonment.

Mr Clark's solicitor Matthew McConville, of Irvings Law, said Derbyshire police originally offered £2,000, but he found this offer to be unacceptable and issued court proceedings. Derbyshire police then upped the sum to £2,500.

Legal advisors at Derbyshire Constabulary told the law firm: "In terms of the false imprisonment, it is accepted - due to the comments made by Inspector Nash that [Mr Clark] was not under arrest but also apparently not free to leave - that the detention later became unlawful and amounted to a false imprisonment."

Inspector Nash “readily admitted” to the Professional Standards Department that he did not handle the incident “in a professional manner” the report of the hearing said.

Office worker Mr Clark said he has suffered with paranoia following the incident.

He said: "Every time I see the police I'm worried it's him. I'm waiting for him to get his own back.

"It frustrates me that I wasn't too far from assaulting him and trying to escape, I felt that scared.

"I did go and see the doctor because I developed ticks and this incident didn't help. It has been stressful.

"If I didn't record it, none of this would've been remembered. That's how dodgy the whole thing is."

Mr Clark added: "How are you supposed to respect and have faith in the police when this happens?

"I've been in situations where I've had unbelievable amounts of stress. I've been shot at, but you're always professional when you're in uniform.

"It’s in the public interest to make sure he doesn’t do this again and I want Derbyshire police to apologise."

Mr McConville is a specialist in actions against the police and is happy to assist anyone who thinks they may have a case.

He can be contacted on 0151 475 4351, via email at Matthew.McConville@irvingslaw.com or via Irvings Law website.