A CHURCH-going OAP who was forced to spend a freezing cold night in police cells after a series of police blunders has spoken of her ordeal.

Beryl Harvey’s Labrador-Collie cross, Marley, nipped a fellow dog walker when she was out walking him on a playing field near her home, in Park Road Wivenhoe.

Mrs Harvey was never aware she had been charged and after a line of blunders and miscommunications - including a summons being sent to the wrong address - the grandmother-of five was arrested and held in police cells overnight before she appeared in court.

On Tuesday, the pensioner was taken from the police station to Colchester Magistrates’ Court in handcuffs and red prison jumper and when she finally appeared before the bench 21 hours after her arrest, she admitted one count of being in charge of a dog which was dangerously out of control.

Magistrates handed the OAP a conditional discharge, which means she will face no further punishment other than having to pay the victim £50 and keep Marley muzzled.

Now back home, Mrs Harvey who suffers with epilepsy and high blood pressure, has spoken publicly for the first time about her ordeal, saying she’s lived in “fear” since the incident in March.

She said: “I’ve never had anything like this in my life, it was really pretty frightening.

“I was really worried about the outcome - it was just unbelievable.

“Two policemen arrived at my door and said: ‘We are arresting you and taking you to the police station’.

“I couldn’t believe it, I just said: ‘What, now? What about my dog and my cat?’ “They took me into custody and took everything from me, my bracelet, jewellery, watch, and all of my medication,” she said.

The retired office administrator said the ordeal had been tough for both her and her family.

She added: “The cells were bleak, I don’t recommend it. I should think it was the worst night’s sleep of my life.

“I was allowed to make a phone call and I rang my partner and he told my daughter.

“They were running around like scolded cats trying to find solicitors to help us. “They were very concerned I was going to have a seizure with all the stress.

“I was indignant - the medic actually said to me how do you feel and I said angry, indignant and frustrated.”

But church volunteer Mrs Harvey did not hit out at the police for their actions, kindly saying she’d just been unfortunate.

She added: “The police will just say they are doing their job.

“They weren’t ever deliberately rude or unkind, it is just as my solicitor said to the magistrates court, it is an unfortunate set of circumstances, one after another.

“It was just error after error with ghastly jail cell food in between.”

The dog lover added: “This is all for a scratch on someone’s leg - dogs do sometimes have a go at each other.

“There has been dogs that have a go at him. I wouldn’t dream of reporting another dog.

“I have worried since March and I’ve been looking for anything in the post. Marley would never bite anyone he plays with my grandchildren and he is good with everyone.

“He does agility every week and you can’t do that with a naughty dog.”