Life-saving Brighton police officers were commended at an awards ceremony yesterday (Friday 24 February) along with a dozen officers who brought a gang of drug dealers to justice.
PC Alison Deller and PC Daniel Willard saved the life of Shanon Reynolds after her boyfriend Jamiv Usman stabbed her more than a hundred times and left her to die.
Usman carried out the frenzied attack after she refused to get him a drink of water at their home in Meadowview, Brighton. He stabbed her in the neck with such force that the tip of the 8in blade snapped off.
Miraculously she survived the attack by pretending to be dead. She escaped and staggered to a nearby empty bus. The driver alerted Sussex Police and drove her to the Lewes Road bus depot.
PC Deller and PC Willard boarded the bus and helped treat the life-threatening wound to her neck, stemming the loss of blood, while they waited for paramedics to arrive.
They kept her calm, reassured her and spoke with her about her infant son – and visited her the next day at the Royal Sussex County Hospital. She had spent nine hours in an operating theatre there where she had life-saving surgery.
Usman was arrested in Coombe Road, Brighton, the day after the attack and last September the 32-year-old was jailed for 20 years for attempted murder.
The detective in charge of the investigation praised Miss Reynolds for her courage and described her as an inspiration.
She said that after they comforted and helped save Miss Reynolds, the care that they showed for her had helped give her “confidence in Sussex Police to go to court and give evidence against her attacker”.
She added: “This resulted in the conviction of the suspect.”
Chief Superintendent Bell also praised 12 officers – mostly detectives – who were commended by the senior judge in Sussex for bringing a drug-dealing gang to justice.
The police chief said that the officers had carried out “an exceptional investigation with paramount professionalism and dedication” and added that it was “an outstanding operation”.
The gang sold heroin that claimed the lives of at least two people – Dennis Walsh, 48, who died in Chalky Road, Portslade, and Madeline Stokes, 20, who died in Ovingdean.
Yesterday two of the detectives involved in the case – part of Operation Cooden – were presented with commendation certificates at a ceremony at the police station in John Street.
Fifty people were arrested as part of Op Cooden, including a gang led by a thug called Remy Douieb, 23, of Stanford Avenue, Hassocks, who was jailed for six years.
Five of them were jailed along with Douieb last summer by Judge Shani Barnes, the honorary recorder of Brighton and Hove while a teenage boy was given a suspended sentence.
All 50 of the people who were arrested pleaded guilty to various drug-dealing offences.
Judge Barnes said: “All these defendants pleaded guilty at a very early stage because of the weight of evidence placed upon them by you.
“As the resident judge and a local resident, I say thank you and commend this team. I don’t often commend, but this operation is one that I am in awe of.”
At the time, the deputy senior investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Julian Deans, who was one of those commended by Judge Barnes, said: “Operations of this nature do not just happen. It takes hours and hours of painstaking work behind the scenes in the shadows to build a case of this nature.
“I am pleased to have been able to rid the city of this group. The likes of Douieb and George thought that they could just bring their knives and guns to protect their heroin business into this city and this was met head on by our team.
“We will not relent and we will continue to target every heroin dealer who thinks they have a chance of survival in this city.
“My thoughts also go out to every family that is affected by heroin. I have both the fortune and misfortune to witness both sides of the trade.
“I live a surreal life at times where I witness drug dealers peddling their death on the streets of Brighton and then end up investigating the end product of that trade by investigating every heroin death.
“Those victims and families deserve the best response we can give as police officers. My team delivers that response and it serves to redouble our efforts every time we encounter the heartache that heroin brings.”
Detective Constables Joel Finney and Rex Petty were part of a team of four recognised for their work bring a child abuser to justice. The man had raped a vulnerable 13-year-old girl who was in the care of the local authority.
Chief Superintendent Bell said: “A good rapport was quickly built up with the girl.”
As a result crucial evidence was gathered which led to the man pleading guilty and being jailed for four years and eight months.
Others to be commended include Detective Constable Rachel Piggott who brought a violent offender to justice after he stabbed a man several times. DC Piggott built trust and a good rapport and kept the victim safe. His evidence led to his attacker being jailed for three and a half years.
Sergeant Jonathan Hartley and PC Georgina English were sent to deal with a domestic incident and found themselves “confronted with a man brandishing a high-powered air weapon”, Chief Superintendent Bell said.
He threatened to hurt himself and others. The police chief said: “The man caused himself life-threatening injuries to his throat by self harm.”
The two officers “showed incredible bravery in remaining in the property and assisting in negotiating with the man to release his weapon”.
She added: “They performed life-saving first aid by stemming the blood flow from the injury during which the man was dropping in and out of consciousness.
“It was recognised by paramedic staff and the man himself that these actions saved his life.”
Sergeant Edward Davidge was commended for outstanding leadership. Chief Superintendent Bell said: “Sergeant Davidge is commended for his objective actions while dealing with a male who was in danger of falling from some cliffs.
“Sergeant Davidge was upfront with him about what would happen. Through his patience and assurance he led the man away from danger and helped him consider his welfare and those affected by it, namely his auntie and grandma.
“Sergeant Davidge’s professionalism was shown throughout this difficult situation. It undoubtedly occurred to all who attended the scene to consider grabbing the man to try to drag him to safety.
“However, the fence was too high and it could have resulted in an officer being dragged over or by the man subsequently stepping backwards or jumping off the edge to his certain death.
“The man returned to the safe side of the cliffs and was subsequently arrested for domestic violence matters.”
PC Andrew Barker was awarded a Chief Constable’s commendation for his bravery last summer when a man with a chain and a padlock was swinging it violently in an area full of families and children.
He tried to persuade the man to hand over the chain and padlock but ended up having to disarm him and ended up with a head injury.
Chief Superintendent Bell said: “Despite his injuries PC Barker managed to disarm and arrest the man.”
An award for outstanding leadership went to long-serving Inspector Roy Apps. Chief Superintendent Bell said: “Roy has recently retired from Sussex Police after 30 years of exceptional service during which he has remained dedicated to serving the public of Sussex, providing consistent exceptional leadership, motivating his teams, peers and partners to strive to excel in all they do to make a difference.
“Described by many as a man of his word with a steely determination, he is selfless in all that he does and has been a great role model and demonstrated excellent leadership throughout his career.
“He is to be congratulated and recognised for his outstanding leadership and commitment.”
Partnership awards went the Beach Patrol and to Safe Space for their work in Brighton as well as to police specials and some of those who work behind the scenes.
They included Special Constables Alan Rankin-Thorn, Carl Evans and Jason Glanvill, PC Gary Thompson, who has tackled Blue Badge abuse, PC Kevn Michnowicz, Detective Constable Jon Freeman, Zoe Buchanan, Lisa Burstow and Gemma Colling.
The mayor of Brighton and Hove, Pete West, said: “I’m truly honoured to be involved today and incredibly humbled by what I’ve just heard.
“The contributions that you’ve made are immense and you can be incredibly proud of what you’ve done. You are a credit to the city. Thank you for protecting us and keeping the public safe.”
The high sheriff of East Sussex, Michael Foster, said: “How proud we are of you guys stepping up to the plate.
“I know people say it’s the police’s job. It is but it’s inspiring to hear about you going beyond the call of duty.”
He praised Judge Shani Barnes, adding: “It’s quite something to impress her.
“Most of those things you’ve done, you could have walked away from and had an easier life.”
Chief Superintendent Bell added: “So much of what you do is unseen. We are incredibly proud of what you’ve done and you can be proud too.”
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