Powerlifting champion police sergeant who was filmed brutally detaining a woman with PTSD is dismissed from the force
- Sergeant Simon Lythgoe served with Hampshire Constabulary for 25 years
- He broke a world record in 2018 after he bench pressed a 231kg weight
A powerlifting champion police sergeant has been dismissed from the force after shocking CCTV footage showed him using excessive force to detain a vulnerable woman who suffered PTSD from an abusive ex.
The video showed ‘bully’ Sergeant Simon Lythgoe restrain the vulnerable female detainee causing her to hysterically repeat ‘oww’ and accuse the officer of having anger issues.
A panel heard Sgt Lythgoe had access to records informing police the woman had previously been in an abusive relationship and suffered from depression due to the death of her daughter exactly one year before the arrest.
Additional footage showed Sgt Lythgoe emerge from his desk and grab a male detainee by the neck before pushing him to the ground because he ‘aggressively’ looked at another officer.
Hampshire Constabulary sergeant Simon Lythgoe, pictured, broke a world record in 2018 when he bench pressed 231kg
He was dismissed from the force after complaints were made about him using excessive force in the custody suite at Newport Police Station on the Isle of Wight
Sgt Lythgoe has served as an officer with Hampshire Constabulary for ’25 or so’ years and in 2018, broke a bench pressing world record by pushing 231kg.
At a misconduct hearing in Eastleigh, Hampshire, the officer was found guilty of two counts of using force with detainees that was unnecessary, unreasonable and disproportionate in the circumstances.
The first incident shown to the panel occurred in January last year and saw a man – referred to as Mr B – in front of a custody desk at Newport police station, Isle of Wight.
Sgt Lythgoe was sitting behind the desk when Mr B said: ‘My trousers are falling down. Can you loosen my left handcuff, please?
‘I have been asking for five hours, you’re taking the piss.’
Footage showed Sgt Lythgoe rising from his chair, approaching the man and lifting him up ‘by the scruff of his neck’ to remonstrate about the way he had looked at another officer.
CCTV footage of the incidents recorded the former sergeant swearing at detainees
Matthew Holdcroft, prosecuting, told the hearing: ‘That wasn’t the language of a caring and compassionate custody sergeant. That is the language of control and oppression’
The sergeant said to Mr B: ‘I don’t like it. You don’t look aggressively at my colleague.’
During the footage, Sgt Lythgoe is heard to say ‘Do you understand that I am in charge? If you don’t hear what I say there will be consequences’, ‘shut up and stand up’ and ‘he’s not f****** hard’.
Matthew Holdcroft, prosecuting, told the hearing: ‘That wasn’t the language of a caring and compassionate custody sergeant. That is the language of control and oppression.
‘It is a simple language of a bully and a bully who is responsible for the welfare of the detained person. A bully who has total control of the environment in which they are operating.
CCTV footage of another incident, the following month, was shown to the hearing.
Sgt Lythgoe accepted excessive force was used in the incident involving Ms A, but claimed it was a ‘difficult situation’ and was necessary to ensure a safe withdrawal from the cell for him and the other officers
In this, a female detainee called Ms A was held down by Sgt Lythgoe and three other officers.
She is heard to scream at him, ‘Don’t f****** use force against me’, ‘Don’t f****** use force’, ‘Oww, oww, oww’.
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Sgt Lythgoe tells Ms A he does not tolerate violence against staff and she responds to him, saying ‘I am not trying to be violent. I have not tried to be violent towards you’.
Ms A had a documented history of mental health problems which was recorded on the police system Sgt Lythgoe had access to.
Mr Holdcroft said: ‘She has PTSD. She had been subject to years of physical abuse in a previous relationship.
‘This is important because that is a trigger and more importantly, she had depression and anxiety because of the death of her daughter who had died one year before the date of her arrest.’
The barrister said violence towards women is a ‘pressing concern’ for the police service and this is aggravated in the custody setting in which Sgt Lythgoe works.
He added: ‘It is obvious from the moment the Sergeant walked into that cell that he was the trigger.
‘He is the flame that lit the fire and he simply wasn’t meant to be there.’
Sgt Lythgoe was found guilty of gross misconduct on all counts and was dismissed
Sgt Lythgoe accepted excessive force was used in the incident involving Ms A, but claimed it was a ‘difficult situation’ and was necessary to ensure a safe withdrawal from the cell for him and the other officers.
During the hearing, the panel heard evidence regarding Sgt Lythgoe’s ill health at the time of the allegations but details cannot be reported for legal reasons.
Sgt Lythgoe was found guilty of gross misconduct on all counts and was dismissed.
At the end of the case Deputy Chief Constable of Hampshire Police, Sam de Reya, said the force used by Sgt Lythgoe was ‘incredibly disappointing and completely unjustified’.
She added: ‘The panel has concluded the physical actions of Sgt Lythgoe were simply inexcusable.
‘On behalf of the force, I would like to apologise to the victims in this case and thank the colleague who stepped forward to challenge and report behaviour.’
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