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Melanie Sykes has spoken for the first time about being arrested eight years ago.
In November 2013, the TV personality was arrested at her home after a dispute with her then-husband Jack Cockings.
Speaking to The Times, Melanie recalled that she’d asked her partner to leave their home and had “shut herself in her kitchen” after a “fractious argument”.
Believing that her husband was leaving, Melanie said she was unaware he had actually phoned the police accusing her of assault.
“The doorbell went and I answered the door, and they told me that they were there to arrest me,” she explained, stating she was “totally clueless” as to why the police had come to her home.
“I was just, like, ‘You are joking’. I was totally shocked. It felt like an out-of-body experience. I’ve never ever been in trouble with the police. I’m not a violent person, I’m not capable of it.”
Melanie has claimed the police failed to “check both sides of the story” or ask if she herself had been the victim of any abuse.
The Times has also said that Melanie had not been allowed to to wait for an emergency babysitter to care for her two sons – then 11 and 13 years old – saying she accepted a caution “without the implications being made clear” because she was “desperate to get back to the kids”.
The former model’s caution was later revoked and erased from her police record.
Melanie has said that once the police took her home, they began “laughing and joking” with her, while she was still processing the night’s events.
“All the way home they were laughing and joking and wanting to know about the people that I’ve worked with,” she said. “‘What’s it like to work with Des O’Connor?’.
“I was in the back of the car, having the most traumatic night of my life, trying to manage two police officers who want to have a casual, fun chat with me. What are you supposed to do? You can’t tell the policeman that it’s a really inappropriate conversation because, well, I was scared.”
The star noted she’s previously made a point of “never speaking” of the incident, but decided to share her account of her treatment by the police amid the ongoing conversation that followed the murder of Sarah Everard by a Met officer earlier this year.
“I don’t speak of it, I have never spoken of it,” Melanie told the newspaper. “But I just feel, because of what is happening, what’s in the news at the moment, I don’t want to not speak about it right now. I want to speak about it and then hopefully I’ll help make some changes because it is really important.”
She continued: “There’s so much in the newspapers at the moment about the police and vulnerable women. It’s made me want to speak because I want to shine a light on this issue. And so that the women out there know that they’re not on their own and that it does happen. What happened to me is a pattern, but I didn’t know.
“I don’t want it to be a single moment. I want it highlighted and a conversation that never stops until the behaviours stop. The way these things work has to change.”
The Times noted that Melanie’s ex-husband Jack Cockings had declined to speak to them for their story.
In 2019, Melanie founded Frank, a magazine which discusses women’s issues and aims to empower its female readership.
She is also currently campaigning for an overhaul of the education system to help people with autism, having recently been diagnosed with the condition at the age of 51.
Discussing past difficulties she’s encountered in her career, she told The Guardian last week: “I’ve often been told, ‘oh, nobody ever says that’ or ‘nobody’s ever complained about that’, and now I know why.
“I used to think it was because I was northern and was just a straight talker.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.