A POLICE sergeant who had to quit the force after falling on a slippery police station floor had his hopes of compensation dashed by judges yesterday.

William Gulliver, 56, slipped when rushing to get help for a sick and potentially suicidal prisoner in the cells at Whickham police station, near Gateshead.

Mr Gulliver, of Woodlea, Houghton-le-Spring, slipped on a surface that was wet after being cleaned.

He suffered injuries to his right shoulder, causing continuing disability and eventually forcing him to quit the Northumbria force.

But his £90,000 damages claim against the Northumbria Police Authority was dismissed by a Newcastle Combined Court judge in May, and that decision was upheld by two judges at London's Appeal Court yesterday.

Lord Justice Waller described how, on the day of the accident in June 1995, Mr Gulliver had to deal with a suspected burglar.

When he visited the prisoner in his cell, Mr Gulliver found him shaking uncontrollably. Suspecting that he was withdrawing from drugs he went for help, and it was then he slipped.

But Lord Justice Waller described the incident as an unfortunate accident, for which the police authority was in no way to blame.

Mr Gulliver fell in the area of the police station which was not generally open to the public, and the cleaner's mop and bucket were still there to be seen.

Rejecting claims that there should have been a sign in place warning of the slippery floor, the judge said: "I do not think that the system fell short in any way, shape or form. I suspect that it was momentary forgetfulness of Mr Gulliver rushing in and this unfortunate accident occurred."

There was no want of care on the part of the police authority