Expectant mum strip searched

Nikola Cunnington was targeted by a police raid.
Nikola Cunnington was targeted by a police raid.
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A heavily pregnant St Helens woman feared she would go into premature labour after raid police smashed their way into her home.

Nikola Cunnington, who is 32 weeks pregnant, claims she was then strip searched as officers attempted, in vain, to find any trace of illegal drugs.

The expectant mum, 30, a care assistant who had just gone on maternity leave, says she was left “anxious, shaking and severely traumatised” by the incident and has since struggled to sleep.

She said: “Just after 9.30am I heard the loudest bang I’d ever heard in my life and, before I knew it, my kitchen was full of coppers searching for class A drugs. I was in shock - I don’t even drink or smoke, never mind take drugs. When they failed to find anything I was then strip searched. It was humiliating and made me feel really uncomfortable - especially as I’m heavily pregnant.

“I was terrified that the shock would send me into premature labour and had to go to my GP afterwards because I couldn’t sleep.”

Six officers targeted Miss Cunnington’s home of two years, on Hargreaves Street in Parr, on the morning of Wednesday, November 20, after securing a search warrant to try to find class A drugs heroin and cocaine.

She says they made no apology, despite finding no drugs and leaving her front door smashed off its hinges - which has since cost several hundred pounds to replace.

Miss Cunnington, who lives alone, also claims that when she subsequently complained about her treatment, an inspector told her “right name, right address”.

She added: “They clearly had false information. I’ve never taken drugs in my life. But I want a written apology now.

“I wouldn’t have minded so much if I didn’t have just eight weeks left until I give birth to my daughter. I now feel anxious all the time and no longer feel safe in my own home.

“After the way I’ve been treated, I’ve lost all confidence in the police.”

But DCI Lee Turner, of St Helens CID, claimed the raid was “completely justified” given the evidence the police had at their disposal.

He said: “It’s true that on this occasion no drugs were found but this raid was backed by a Magistrate who felt there was sufficient evidence to authorise a search warrant.

“We weren’t acting on just one piece of intelligence. It will have been corroborated - generally by a reliable source.”