Melissa's Story (reproduced from the Mail Online report 27/01/2013)
17 year old Melissa Jones was arrested, finger-printed, DNA’d, spent ten hours in a cell, and was eventually taken to court because police claimed she was drunk and disorderly even though a doctor had examined Melissa following her arrest and confirmed she had not consumed any alcohol.
Shortly before midnight on June 16 2012, Melissa and a friend went to a shop near her home in Edge Hill, Liverpool, to buy some Coca-Cola. A drunken woman customer became aggressive when the assistant refused to serve her, and attacked Melissa and her friend when they tried to intervene. Both girls were stamped on and suffered severe bruising.
The attacker fled when police arrived and Melissa was crying and distraught, but police assumed Melissa had been drinking and arrested her. When her mother ran to the shop to tell the officers that Melissa had autism, attention deficit disorder and communication difficulties, they ignored her and insisted that Melissa was drunk. The decision to take the matter to court was taken after Melissa refused to admit to the charge and pay a £60 fixed penalty.
Melissa became suicidal while waiting eight months for her case to go to trial and, at the time of her acquittal, her mother told reporters that Melissa hardly ever left the house anymore and was receiving weekly counselling for the double trauma of first being assaulted and then arrested and charged by the police.
Merseyside police said that the 25-year-old woman who allegedly attacked Melissa was later arrested but not charged due to ‘lack of evidence’.