Northern Ireland news

Policewoman accused of shoplifting took cocktail of drugs 'under duress'

Policewoman Linda Totten (50) denies shoplifting

A POLICEWOMAN on trial for shoplifting has claimed her ex-partner forced her to swallow prescription drugs "under duress".

Linda Totten (50), a serving officer with an address at Enniskillen police station, Co Fermanagh, has denied two charges of shoplifting from Asda in the town in December 2013.

During the sixth day of the trial yesterday, Dungannon Crown Court heard that at the time of the alleged offences, Ms Totten was living with an ex-girlfriend who she claimed had subjected her to emotional and physical abuse.

Ms Totten, who was a police sergeant when the alleged thefts were carried out, said she was supposed to be on pain relief following a double mastectomy but claimed her ex-partner had not allowed her to have any medication for 10 days.

On the day of the first alleged theft, Ms Totten told the court the woman had written a shopping list and ordered the policewoman to go to Asda.

Ms Totten said she told her then partner she could not go but was forced to swallow a cocktail of drugs including Diazepam, Tylex and Tramadol "under duress".

"She then made me open my mouth to check I had swallowed them," Ms Totten told the court.

She said she had a "misunderstanding" at a till after she paid for her shopping and then went to buy extra items.

Ms Totten said she provided a receipt but was told by a supervisor it was the wrong one.

She claimed the supervisor told her: "We have Romanians in Asda stealing all the time. I've seen you here with your big fat Romanian girlfriend."

The PSNI sergeant said her ex-partner was German, adding that she told the supervisor her comments were discriminatory.

Referring to the second alleged theft on Christmas Eve 2013, she claimed that her ex-partner had again withheld her medication and had assaulted her the day before.

Ms Totten said when she arrived at the supermarket, accompanied by her ex-girlfriend, she again took a cocktail of tablets "under duress".

"I am a police officer. I uphold the law, I do not break it. I had no medication when I drove the car. I only took it when I got to the shops," she claimed.

She said while in the supermarket she was "very distressed and upset" and had left her trolley unattended several times to get some fresh air.

The policewoman said during a conversation with the security manager he referred to her as "sir". And she said a second security worker allegedly said: "I didn't know if it is a he, a she or an it."

She claimed after staff challenged her, she was pushed into a holding room at the supermarket. She was then taken to Enniskillen police station where a doctor deemed her unfit for interview and released her on bail.

Under cross-examination, Ms Totten said her ex-partner threatened to slit her dog's throat when an officer later arrived at her home and demanded the policewoman surrender her personal protection weapon.

The prosecution asked Totten if she was "making up responses on the hoof".

But the policewoman denied the suggestion.

The trial continues.

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