A teenage girl with autism was arrested and hauled before the courts because police mistakenly assumed she was drunk.
Despite being completely sober, 17-year-old Melissa Jones spent ten hours in a police cell, was finger-printed and had her DNA taken.
She was charged with being drunk and disorderly, forced to appear in court and became suicidal while waiting eight months for her case to go to trial.
Last week, however, prosecutors finally realised they had got it wrong and agreed to drop the case against her.
Her mother, Christine Evans, 49, a training manager, yesterday said her daughter, who also has learning difficulties, had been through ‘hell’. ‘Having this hanging over her for the past eight months has had a terrible effect on her,’ said divorcee Miss Evans.
‘She has a basic understanding of right and wrong, so to be arrested for something she didn’t do was devastating.
‘She has tried to commit suicide and is having weekly counselling. She hardly ever goes out any more.’
Another customer, a drunken woman, became aggressive when the assistant refused to serve her, and attacked Miss Jones and her friend when they intervened