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Police commendations honour action beyond the call of duty
Buy this photo » Pc Sarah Lally, pictured outside the tower of St Michael at the Northgate Church, where she managed to talk down a man who was threatening to jump. Picture: OX55612 Jon Lewis
PC SARAH Lally might not have thought all that time listening to her family talk about football would ever be useful.
But that’s until she found herself at the top of Oxford’s Saxon tower.
The 32-year-old had been called to Cornmarket Street in July after a man was spotted sitting on the edge of 70-foot-high tower attached to St Michael at the Northgate Church in Cornmarket Street.
And when her sergeant asked her to climb the tower she didn’t think twice before doing her duty.
She said: “Basically I just tried to keep him talking to me and remind him that no matter how bad it was, tomorrow might get better.
“I spoke to him about his family and talked to him about football. I only know anything about it because my family are Oxford United season ticket holders.
“I don’t mind heights but the hardest part was taking the first step out onto the top of the tower. I didn’t want to think about the height – I just wanted to concentrate on him.”
After staying on top of the tower for more than an hour, Pc Lally managed to convince the man to come down.
He was taken back to the mental health ward where he was being treated.
Pc Lally is among 11 other police officers, Pcsos and members of the public to be rewarded for their bravery with the area commander’s commendation certificate.
And it wasn’t just police officers who were given the award on Thursday.
Primark security guard Genny Cupi, from Headington, was given the certificate for helping save the life of a two-year-old child who was choking on a jelly baby.
Mr Cupi, who works for Advance Security, said: “I am very pleased to have been given this award.
“My first instinct was that I had to react.
“I always try to help and do my best for everyone who needs it.”
Also commended was Pcso Luke Harris who in September came across a man who had been assaulted while on patrol through Barton with his partner Pcso Nigel Pearce.
He used a towel to apply pressure to his head wound and then found himself trying to resuscitate the man when he stopped breathing.The 23-year-old said: “When something like that happens your training just comes to the front of your mind. I am quite proud I managed to save someone’s life but it is my job and we have to deal with these incidents.”
Other police officers who were recognised were Sgt Russ Stevenson who managed to pull a woman from the Oxford Canal off Park End Street with the help of Pc Shaun Heyns, and Pc Kirk Rogers who was first on the scene of the murder of Aaron Buron in March and who supervised operations and helped the family.
Sgt Stevenson said: “There’s a lot of bad feeling towards the police but we are not just arresting people. We are saving people as well. It’s one of the best things you can do.”
Pc Rogers said: “When you get a call on the radio you initially think it is going to be superficial. These reports often are.
“When I arrived on the scene it was my job to supervise the investigation. You have to ensure all the evidence is gathered so you can get justice for the family. It’s something that you cannot get wrong because someone has lost their life.
“It is very satisfying to see a conviction and it was nice to see justice prevail.”
Oxford area commander Supt Chris Sharp said: “I am proud of them all.
“This is just a selection of those who sometimes put their lives on the line or saved someone’s life and gone that extra mile.
“I am very proud to be able to recognise them today.”
THE other winners were:
- Pcso Jim Katouzian and Pc Christine Cross, for stopping two men who were robbing a woman and arresting both of them after one of the robbers threatened them with a knife and ran away.
- Pc Jonathan Cooke, for helping two Metropolitan Police officers while in London on a day off to arrest two people by wrestling one man to the ground and helping bring another under control.
- Sgt Mark Brock and Pc Aidan Donohoe, who waded into the River Cherwell to pull a woman out after she had climbed in near Magdalen Bridge.