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Police officers demonstrating professionalism, compassion and perseverance have received commendations for their handling of some challenging investigations.
At a series of awards ceremonies at North Yorkshire Police’s headquarters during April 2011, a number of officers were recognised for the dedication which helped them solve some particularly complex and sensitive cases.
The investigation team which conducted the enquiry into the deaths of jockeys Jan Wilson and Jamie Kyne, who died when a block of flats in Buckrose Court, Norton caught fire in September 2009, received Judge’s Commendations.
North Yorkshire Police recognised the commendation awarded by the Honourable Mrs Justice Davies QC to the officers involved in the investigation which led to the conviction of Peter Brown, who was found guilty of manslaughter at Leeds Crown Court on 20 May 2010.
The judge said: “It was clearly a very thorough and comprehensive investigation on the part of the police, and I should like my own acknowledgement of their efforts to be passed to the Chief Constable.”
Brown was given an indeterminate sentence and will serve a minimum of seven years before he can be considered for parole.
Temporary Detective Superintendent Alan Carey, who led the investigation, was recognised for his efforts in solving the case along with fellow officers Chief Inspector Steve Smith, Detective Constable Eileen Huscroft, Detective Sergeant Jason Roper, DS Stephen Paxton, DC Alistair Scott, DC Alex Jackson, DC Alex Hall, DC Tom Hoban, DC Kirsten Aldridge, DC Angela Smith DC Karen Wedgwood (family liaison officer) and Traffic Constable Grant Gibson (family liaison officer).
Also commended were Exhibits and Disclosure Officer Bev Shields, Intelligence Analyst Anna Lloyd-Jones, Stephen John Walls, of the Major Crime Unit, Dale Blakey, of Forensic Services and Crime Scene Investigator Martin Blee.
Detective Constable Sarah Lynch also received a Judge’s Commendation for her care and consideration when investigating a large-scale disturbance in Pateley Bridge which left a woman with life-changing injuries.
On 3 May 2009, local woman Lorraine Venning was attacked after she went to the aid of a pub landlord who got into difficulty while attempting to eject six Doncaster men from the premises.
The men turned on Lorraine and attacked her, inflicting serious head injuries which have left her partially paralysed.
Another man was blinded in one eye during the incident which saw the landlord knocked unconscious and several other people injured as they tried to intervene.
At York Crown Court on 22 December 2010, the offenders were sentenced to a total of over 15 years’ imprisonment.
Judge Stephen Ashurst commended DC Lynch at the conclusion of the trial, praising her skills in putting such a complex case together and her compassion when interviewing the victims.
Detective Constable Kathryn Clegg received a Director’s Commendation for a commitment and perseverance while attempting to reunite an abducted child with her family.
The child was snatched by her father during a family holiday to Turkey in July 2010, while she was visiting the country with her mother – who was estranged from the child’s father – and her younger brother.
Despite no legal grounds for UK police intervention and the reluctance of the Turkish authorities to intervene, DC Clegg worked with numerous agencies in the UK and Turkey in order to secure the return of the child.
She managed to obtain a contact number for the father through family members and showed great tenacity and negotiation skills to build up a rapport with him.
Eventually, DC Clegg persuaded the father to return to England and the girl was safely reunited with her mother.
Director’s Commendations were also awarded to the investigation team which handled the murder of Laura Smith in Scarborough on 11 July 2010.
Detective Sergeant Andy Kenyon was recognised for his remarkable composure, compassion and professionalism during the initial police response at the murder scene and his subsequent management of the investigation which led to the successful conviction of Laura’s former partner Nigel Pickard.
Detective Constable Nigel Pepper was also commended for his role as Officer in the Case. He spent two days interviewing Pickard before charging him with murder, and preparing an excellent court file.
DC Pepper also offered great support to Laura’s family and friends throughout the trial at Leeds Crown Court.
Pickard was found guilty of murder on 14 January 2011 and sentenced to a minimum of 15 years’ imprisonment.
Detective Constable Sam Pearson also received a Director’s Commendation for her sensitive and thorough handling of an investigation into historic child abuse.
Although proving historic child abuse without forensic evidence is notoriously difficult, DC Pearson developed a case which was as robust as possible.
The interviews and subsequent case were extremely difficult for the victims, however DC Pearson’s dedication and commitment ensured they remained supportive of the police action and the trial process.
Her hard work paid off when the offender was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment.
Traffic Sergeant Andy Quigley, Traffic Constables Richard Ellis and Stuart Langford, and PC Barry O’Brien, all received Director’s Commendations for their roles in investigating a fatal road traffic collision on the A64, near York, in September 2009.
Two women were killed in the collision which sparked one of the most complex investigations in recent years. However, thanks to the dedication of the officers involved Tien Cheng was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment, banned from driving for 10 years and faces deportation on completion of his sentence.
Sgt Quigley was also commended for his role in the complex investigation into the death of 10-year-old Sean Hamilton who was knocked down in Holgate Road, York.
Special Constable Kim Deighton was awarded a Director’s Commendation for her courageous actions when saving the life of a suicidal woman in York.
On 17 July 2010, Kim was negotiating with the woman on Lendal Bridge, when she suddenly threw herself off the parapet.
Acting instinctively, Kim grabbed the woman and pulled her back to safety, almost certainly saving her life.
Sergeant Kevin Graham and PC Sean Michael Godfrey received Director’s Commendations for the support they provided to military families during the 2010 deployment to Afghanistan.
Sgt Graham and PC Godfrey worked hard on Operation Families First to offer support to the whole of the forces community at Catterick Garrison.
Brigadier Richard Felton OBE, Commander of 4th Mechanized Brigade, said: “Every one of my soldiers truly valued your support; it gave them reassurance in our mission.”
PC Scott Nixon and his police dog Rambo were awarded Director’s Commendations after rescuing a family who were lost in freezing conditions near Thruscross Reservoir.
In January 2011, PC Nixon and Rambo carried out an extensive search over rough ground in an effort to trace a mother and her three children who were lost in the dark.
After a three hour search the family were located and PC Nixon carried two of the children, who were showing signs of hypothermia, to safety.
Another officer was also commended for his bravery in the harsh conditions last winter.
PC John O’Malley was recognised for saving the life of a man who thrown under the wheels of a runaway gritter at the scene of a road traffic collision on Staxton Hill, Scarborough.
While assisting in the aftermath of the collision the man was forced to jump clear as the gritter collided with the crashed cars. However, he fell into the path of the vehicle and with no consideration for his own safety PC O’Malley came to his rescue and dragged him away.
PC O’Malley’s selfless act of bravery prevented the man from being killed or seriously injured.