A former police officer whose own force spied on her is now on the brink of homelessness.

Andrea Brown won her case in 2016 when it was found officers used anti-terror laws to monitor her while she was on sick leave for depression.

Now the single mum says she may have to sell her third consecutive home in a bitter row over legal fees with both Scotland Yard and Greater Manchester Police.

Despite winning her case, she rejected ‘pittance’ offers to settle out of court, so has been dragged through the appeal courts for the past three years.

If a judge rules against her at the Court of Appeal in October, she may have to pay £200,000 in legal fees.

The former Detective Constable, who had been with the Met for 20 years, moved from London to Suffolk and has downsized her home twice to pay her lawyers.



But she fears a third time could leave her on the streets.

She told Metro.co.uk: ‘It’s ruined me, I feel like my whole life has been on hold for the past eight years.

‘If I lose this house, there won’t be any money to buy anything else.

‘The only asset I have is my house, I don’t have pots of money. I will have to sell it if I lose this appeal, how is that fair?’

It all started when Scotland Yard launched an investigation into Ms Brown when she took a holiday to Barbados in 2011, having spent 18 months of the previous two years off sick.

Ms Brown had been expected to discuss her well-being with bosses at Sutton police station in south London, but she went to see her extended family in the Caribbean following the death of her father.

She had told her representative at the Police Federation about the trip but did not tell a senior officer at the station.

It would have been a disciplinary matter but her boss, Detective Inspector Sarah Rees, approached the National Border Targeting Centre (NBTC).

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) helps run the NBTC, which is a division of the Border Force and collects private information on people’s whereabouts.



An application to trace Ms Brown’s movements through Virgin Atlantic was also made, citing a made-up Act of Parliament.

Ms Brown successfully sued the Met and GMP after they admitted data protection breaches, but she refused offers to settle as she wanted the two forces to punish the officers responsible.

Det Insp Rees retired from the Met and a claim for misfeasance in public office (abuse of power) was thrown out at the time.

Ms Brown said: ‘That’s how they get away with stuff because people think, “I better take the money and forget about the whole thing”.

‘But I just felt that was morally wrong because no one was being disciplined and they will never learn any lessons from this unless they start punishing officers that do this.

She added: ‘They’re trying to get me to pay their legal fees and that’s two police forces, so that’s two sets of legal fees.

‘All these years they’ve been fighting because they have endless pots of money because they’re using the public purse, whereas I’ve had to sell my house on two previous occasions.’

Ms Brown has launched a fundraiser on Crowd Justice to help pay her legal fees.

She said: ‘I could never afford to come back to London. I’m 100 miles away from my family.


‘It’s a taken a toll on my mum and daughter because they’ve seen how it’s affected me.

‘But I don’t want to give up my fight. Just because I’m not rich, why should I have to give up my access to justice?’

If she wins at the Court of Appeal, Ms Brown believes it’s inevitable the case will end up in the Supreme Court to get a final decision.

She added: ‘They won’t settle until they’re in the highest court of the land.’

A spokesperson for GMP said: ‘Due to proceedings being active, we feel it inappropriate to comment further at this stage.’