A policeman has admitted that he used “significant force” to arrest a terror suspect in south London but rejected claims that he and other officers beat him up.
Pc Roderick James-Bowen, 40, said he had an “immense struggle” with Babar Ahmad, 37, as he detained the suspected al Qaida backer in an early morning raid, Southwark Crown Court heard.
The stocky 6ft 1ins officer, who weighed 16 stone at the time, alleged that Mr Ahmad adopted a “fighting stance” and looked around for his samurai sword as police entered his bedroom to seize him.
James-Bowen told the court that he charged into the suspect “like a rugby tackle” and grappled with him in a “ferocious” struggle. The policeman alleged that martial arts expert Mr Ahmad rained down blows on his back as he tried to bring him to the ground.
He insisted no officers kicked or punched the suspect in the bedroom, but said he believed there was “justification for strikes and blows”.
He told the court: “I don’t accept Mr Ahmad was beaten up at all. Significant force was used and I documented it, but he wasn’t beaten up.”
James-Bowen, Pc Mark Jones, 43, Pc Nigel Cowley, 34, and Detective Constable John Donohue, 37, all deny assaulting the suspect at his home in Tooting, south London, in the early hours of December 2 2003.
Mr Ahmad, whose house had been bugged by MI5, was suspected of being the leader of a group which provided al Qaida and other fundamentalist networks with computer, financial and logistical expertise.
The operation to arrest him came 11 months after Detective Constable Stephen Oake was murdered in Crumpsall, Manchester, by terror suspect Kamel Bourgass. Police chiefs briefed the arresting officers that Mr Ahmad was to be considered as dangerous as Bourgass and said they feared he would resist, the court heard.
Mr Ahmad was never charged in relation to his arrest but is now in custody awaiting extradition to the US for alleged terrorism offences