‘why Have You Put a Gun on Nanny?’: Armed Police Terrorised Grandparents and Pointed Guns at Children in Mistaken Raid

Two grandparents said they and their grandchildren no longer feel safe in their home after armed police burst through their front door and pointed guns at them with no explanation.

John Southon, 54, was followed by armed Met officers on November 16 to Brixton Tube station where he was kicked in the back of the leg and then arrested on “gun offences”.

While being arrested, Mr Southon claims an armed police officer fell over him and he now has injuries to his back and shoulder which have seen him signed off from work.

“I felt the kick in my leg and heard shouting then saw there was a machine gun pointed at my head,” said Mr Southon. “The police officer fell over me with a gun in his hand. He could’ve accidentally let a shot off in Brixton.”

While being arrested his keys dropped out of his pockets and he was told officers would look after them.

He was then driven to his home in Crownstone Road, Brixton, in an unmarked vehicle and made to sit in it for an hour while armed police forced their way into the property using the keys, where his wife, Lisa Dempster, and their three grandchildren were watching TV.

“The children had just come home from school and I heard the keys in the door so I assumed it was John,” said Ms Dempster. “But then I heard someone shout ‘armed police, come out with your hands up’.

“I went to the door and saw three of them with guns. My four-year-old came running out with his hands up. I told them I’ve got three young children in the house and they said ‘we know’.

“My four year old kept asking what was going on, he said ‘Why have you put a gun on nanny?’”Ms Dempster, a 51-year-old special needs teacher, said the police started searching the house but did not have a warrant and told her they did not need one because her partner was under arrest.

She said they did not explain why they were there.

The grandmother claimed she and the children, aged five, four and 14 months, were made to wait outside in the cold. The eldest went into shock, Ms Dempster said.

She also claimed the officers would not let her answer her phone while her daughter called, concerned about her children’s welfare.

Mr Southon was then brought into the property in handcuffs in front of the children as the police searched the property again, the grandparents claim.

“I feel like I’ve been burgled. I feel dirty in my own house and I don’t feel safe here at all. We kept asking ‘why is this happening? What reason have you got to do this to us?’ They just said ‘we’ve got good intelligence’.”

Ms Dempster has also been signed off from work with stress and said she “keeps thinking someone’s going to burst through the door any minute”. The grandchildren have also needed counselling. Ms Dempster said their four-year-old told her he couldn’t sleep because he thought someone was going to “come through the door and take him”.

The grandparents said they were planning legal action against the Met and have not yet received a full explanation or apology from the police force.

A Met spokesman said: “On November 16 officers attended an address in Crownstone Road, after intelligence was received about a firearm at the address.

“On attending, a man was seen to leave the address and was arrested on suspicion of possession of a firearm.

“A search of the address was carried out under Section 32 PACE – no firearm was recovered and the man was de-arrested.

“Due to the nature of calls relating to firearms, the safety of the public and our officers is of paramount importance while this work is carried out.”

Pictured top: Grandparents Jon Southon and Lisa Dempster (Picture: Family handout)