Sussex Police pays £55,000 to couple arrested during Gatwick drone incident but lawyer seeks extra £145,000 in legal costs

Sussex Police has paid £55,000 to a couple arrested during the Gatwick drone incident in 2018 but their lawyer is now seeking an extra £145,000 to cover legal costs.

A police spokesman confirmed the joint settlement was made on a no liability basis, avoiding lengthy court proceedings.

He added: “We remain in discussion in relation to their request for legal costs.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

“All parties agreed that the allegations of unlawful arrest and detention were matters that could only be settled through the courts.

Police

“However, we recognise that things could have been done differently and have apologised to them for the impact of their experience.”

In a statement to this newspaper the lawyer for the couple – Mark Stephens, a partner at Howard Kennedy – said he had submitted a bill for £145,000 in legal costs to Sussex Police.

A police investigation into the illegal drone incursions at Gatwick Airport concluded at least two drones were behind the attack.

The incident, during the peak Christmas period, led to the airport being closed for 30 hours, disrupting 1,000 flights and more than 140,000 passengers.

A message from the Editor, Gary Shipton:

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news, I am asking you to please purchase a copy of our newspapers.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspapers.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

Stay safe, and best wishes.