UK
24/09/2015 16:27 BST | Updated 24/09/2015 16:59 BST

Barack Obama's British Cousin Marie Auma Is Suing Met Police For 'Harassment From Farting Policemen'

The UK-based cousin of American president Barack Obama is suing her former employers at London's Met Police for £400,000 - claiming a pair of farting policemen were among those who made her life a misery.

Marie Auma says officers and employees pursued a conspiracy against her, including two who deliberately broke wind beside her desk at Southwark Police Station.

The 57-year-old, who was at Obama's inauguration in 2009, claims she was 'belittled and humiliated' in the campaign of alleged harassment.

It stemmed from alleged refusal of leave to visit her brother's grave after he died in a car crash in Kenya in 2007 and culminated in her being medically retired with mental health difficulties.

Now in a trial at Central London County Court, Auma, of Green Lanes, Palmers Green, Haringey, is fighting for compensation. The Met denies liability.

Her barrister Lorraine Mensah told Judge Simon Freeland QC that Auma, whose job involved liaising with crime victims, had been the victim of '21st Century bullying'.

Few of the individual incidents which occurred between 2007 and 2009 could be said to be harassment, but together they formed a 'culture' of bullying against her, she said.

She told the court Auma had been refused leave to visit Kenya in 2007, following the death of her brother in an accident.

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When she complained about the refusal, she was branded a trouble-maker in the force's 'rumour mill', said the barrister.

She said there was a 'pack mentality' and that the rumours led directly to an officer and another civilian employee deliberately breaking wind at her desk.

"The passing of wind at her desk in an open plan office is an attempt to belittle her and humiliate her."

"There was clear evidence before the defendants that she was suffering stress, causing her ill health, and she attributed that to the bullying and harassment that she complained of," Mensah added.

She had to take time off work due to chest pains in the second half of 2008, which she put down to anxiety and stress caused by her situation at work.

The Met could at any time have 'controlled or stopped' the harassment and so prevented Auma from mental injury, said the barrister.

Auma is related to Mr Obama through her aunt, Kezia Obama, who is the president's Bracknell, Berkshire-based step-mum.