Beds, Herts & Bucks

Julian Cole nightclub incident: Five police officers could face criminal charges

Julian Cole and his mum Claudia
Image caption Julian Cole, a sports science student, suffered severe brain damage in 2013

Criminal charges could be brought against five police officers after a man was paralysed following an incident outside a nightclub.

Julian Cole suffered a broken neck outside Elements nightclub in Bedford in May 2013.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has examined the circumstances around the arrest.

It said there may be a case to answer for gross misconduct and has made a referral to prosecutors.

Bedfordshire Police has confirmed four of the officers in question remain on active duty and one has retired from the force.

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Image caption Mr Cole was left paralysed following an incident outside Elements nightclub in Bedford

Four of them could face a charge relating to their honesty and integrity, and one could face a case of misconduct for use of force, which is not believed to be linked to Julian's spinal injury.

Danny Shaw, Home affairs correspondent

Visiting Julian Cole in his care home was a deeply moving experience.

Since May 2013, his life has changed beyond all recognition. Once an energetic and athletic young man, he's now dependent on nursing staff and his devoted parents for everything.

An Arsenal calendar hangs above his bed - a reminder of his love of football - but he will never be able to enjoy a match, let alone play the game, again.

How exactly he sustained the injuries is unclear - and may never be known with certainty.

But his family has moved a step closer to finding out some of the answers with the conclusion of the IPCC investigation.

It means there's the possibility of a criminal trial and misconduct hearings which, under new rules, will be open to the public.

The case is so serious it needs transparency - that does not now seem such a distant prospect.

The IPCC said it had been a "complex and lengthy investigation involving examination of over 900 documents, interviews with witnesses, a number of medical expert opinions, CCTV trawls and forensic analysis".

The Crown Prosecution Service will now decide whether charges should be brought.

The 23-year-old student's mother, Claudia Cole, told BBC News the announcement was "welcome" but had taken too long.

"It has been the hardest three years waiting for the IPCC investigation to conclude," she said.

"Julian is still alive, but it cannot be said that he is really living."

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