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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Ellie Ng

Police end investigation into alleged assault of poppy-selling veteran

PA Archive

Police are no longer investigating an alleged assault on a veteran selling poppies at a station during a pro-Palestinian rally due to “insufficient evidence”.

British Transport Police (BTP) said there is “no reason to believe” poppy sellers are at any risk of being targeted.

Jim Henderson, 78, told the Scottish Daily Mail he was punched as he tried to leave Waverley Station in Edinburgh before being helped by railway staff, as hundreds of protesters filled the station on November 4 in a demo against the actions of the Israeli government in Gaza.

We have no reason to believe that poppy sellers are at any risk or being intentionally targeted
— Sean O'Callaghan, British Transport Police

Assistant Chief Constable Sean O’Callaghan said: “Detectives have extensively monitored CCTV and spoken with key identified witnesses.

“There is insufficient evidence to take the investigation further at this time.

“We have no reason to believe that poppy sellers are at any risk or being intentionally targeted.”

Mr Henderson, who told the newspaper he served in the Royal Corps of Signals, 32 Signal Regiment in Northern Ireland, claimed the assault happened during the rally while he ran a Poppyscotland stall at the station.

As I bent down someone punched me in the back
— Jim Henderson, Army veteran

He told the paper: “I was getting shoved backwards, in danger of falling, and one of them stood on my foot and split my toe.

“I thought I had got to get the money out of here. So I went down, and as I bent down someone punched me in the back. And then I got another punch in my side.”

He said he managed to get up and was helped by three women wearing red railway uniforms.

“I’ve never known anything like it,” he said.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman had called the alleged attack “repulsive”.

Another incident on November 4 was reported to BTP of a racially aggravated public order offence, which the force said is not linked to the protest at the station or the ongoing conflict overseas.

A 41-year-old man from Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, has been arrested in connection with the incident and is in police custody. 

Anyone with information relating to either incident is asked to contact BTP by texting 61016 or via the Railway Guardian App.

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