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Armed swoop

PUBLISHED: 18:31 30 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:43 25 August 2010

AN INNOCENT woman traumatised after her flat was raided by armed officers hunting the killers of Bradford PC, Sharon Beshenivsky has launched a High Court attack on a decision to reject her complaints against police over her ordeal.

AN INNOCENT woman traumatised after her flat was raided by armed officers hunting the killers of Bradford PC, Sharon Beshenivsky has launched a High Court attack on a decision to reject her complaints against police over her ordeal.

Nicola Dennis, 29, became unwittingly embroiled in the search for Sharon's killers after armed officers trailed a suspect car seen near her home in De Havilland Drive, Cambridge Row, Greenwich in November 2005.

Although the armed response team momentarily lost sight of the vehicle they believed that suspects had gone into Ms Dennis' home and rushed in to investigate, London's High Court heard.

Her barrister, Stephen Cragg, said it was accepted on all sides that Ms Dennis had "nothing to do" with the murder of PC Beshenivsky, 38, who was gunned down following a bungled burglary at Bradford's Universal Express travel agents in November 2005.

Ms Dennis became "caught up" in the case as the murder investigation spilled over into London and police trailed three suspects in her neighbourhood.

In the ensuing incident, Ms Dennis says armed officers pulled her from her home, placed her in plastic cuffs, held her on the ground face down and pointed a gun at her head.

Ms Dennis was "crying and shaking", Mr Cragg said, with her anxiety compounded by her belief that the safety catch on the officer's gun was in the "off" position.

After 10 minutes, she was hauled up onto the pavement, Mr Cragg told the court, and finally released when she persuaded officers that she was unconnected with the upstairs flat.

In May last year she appealed that decision before the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which upheld the original decision and found that her treatment by armed officers was lawful.

However, the Commission did say one officer had been "somewhat overzealous" in his treatment of Ms Dennis, Mr Cragg told the court.

Her case reached the High Court last Wednesdayas she mounted a judicial review challenge to the Commission's ruling.

The hearing continues.

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