A MAN has accepted a £24,000 payout from Essex Police after an officer fabricated evidence to have him hauled before the courts.
Ryan Fleming, 33, said his life had been destroyed by false allegations made by his neighbour, PC Stuart Burch, when he lived in Tennyson Avenue, Southend, causing him to become homeless and even lose custody of his young son.
He has nowbegun to piece his life back together, but said the money could only go so far.
Speaking exclusively to the Echo, he said: “The last four years has left my life in tatters. The payout goes some way towards replacing the material things I’ve lost, but in no way will it ever repair the damage it’s done to my sense of trust and my mental health, not to mention what it’s done to my son.
“It’s too little, too late. There were times when I didn’t want to be here anymore and, over the last four years, I’ve taken a couple of overdoses because I just couldn’t see a way out.”
Four officers broke into Mr Fleming’s home on the night of August 6, 2009, following an argument between him and PC Burch a few hours earlier about the volume of his music.
He was arrested and charged with a public order offence before being released on bail terms prohibiting him from returning to his three-bedroom home until the case had been dealt with in the courts.
Three months later, the case was thrown out at Southend Magistrates’ Court, which labelled the officers’ evidence “neither believable nor credible”.
In 2011, the Independent Police Complaints Commission later found PC Burch had changed his story from initially telling officers he was in fear of his life, to telling investigators he had called the nonemergency number because there was no threat to him.
However, in the run up to his court appearance, Mr Fleming had been made homeless after being evicted from his council house due to his bail conditions.
Left with nowhere to go he and his son, who is now ten, stayed at his mother’s and brother’s house and even a caravan in Upminster before mental health charity Mind provided them with a bedsit in York Road, Southend.
At one point Mr Fleming lost custody of his son to the boy’s mother, though this was later split between them. He has now been rehoused in Shoebury.