Commendations for police officers who saved suicidal man’s life
Three police officers who rescued a man who cut his own neck with a knife in Marlborough have been commended for their actions.
The officers had to pepper spray the man and taser him twice in their bid to restrain him.
At a ceremony on Thursday night, the three officers – from the Chippenham-based response team – received Chief Constable’s Commendations from Chief constable Mike Veale, high sheriff Lady Gooch, and lord lieutenant Sarah Troughton.
The dramatic incident unfolded after a call was received from a vulnerable suicidal man in a car in Marlborough who was threatening to take his life with a knife.
PC Julie Mason spoke with the man on the phone whilst travelling to the location and managed to build a rapport.
Two other officers, PC Emma Brown and PC Mark Curle, had also both been deployed to the incident and upon PC Mason’s arrival they were engaging with the man from a discrete distance so as not to escalate the situation.
The man was clearly very upset and had locked himself in the car, and the officers could clearly see a knife being held against his neck.
Maintaining communication PC Mason approached the vehicle and attempted to calm him, however he became increasingly agitated. At this point the man cut his neck with the knife.
Acting instinctively PC Mason sprayed him with PAVA incapacitant spray through the open window whilst PC Brown used her baton to break the window.
With the window clear PC Brown was able to taser the male and PC Curle attempted to restrain him. However this proved impossible and the other two officers were required assist.
Only after the man had been tasered a second time were the three officers able to wrestle the knife away and subdue him sufficiently to administer urgent first aid until paramedics arrived.
PC Mason, PC Brown and PC Curle were awarded the Chief Constable’s Commendation for their outstanding co-ordinated actions, which undoubtedly saved the man’s life.
There were also commendations for detective constable Sarah Clarke, police constable Peter Fennell, and police staff member Teresa Sugden of the Marlborough-based major investigation team.
Their investigation commenced following the murder of Robert and Elsie Crook at their home in Swindon in July 2007.
Their son, Timothy, was living with them at the time but was suffering with significant mental health problems. We now know that both parents were living in fear of Timothy and were seeking help from local mental health teams.
Before successful intervention could take place Timothy killed both parents and drove their bodies to Lincoln where he concealed them in the overgrown garden of a property he owned in the city.
Returning to Swindon, Timothy informed his sister that their parents had gone to Lincoln to try and sell his house for him; however she became concerned and reported them missing to Wiltshire Police. This report subsequently led to the discovery of their bodies and Timothy being arrested and charged with murder.
In December 2008 Timothy Crook was deemed unfit to stand trial on account of his mental illness but was found guilty of murdering his parents and remanded under the Mental Health Act for an indefinite period.
In January 2015 Timothy Crook was deemed mentally fit to finally stand trial for the murders and entered a plea of not guilty at Bristol Crown Court.
The newly-appointed investigative team faced a number of challenges in re-visiting the case, locating exhibits from the original investigation, re-building trust and relationships with key witnesses and supporting the family of Robert and Elsie who continued to seek justice.
In July 2015, eight years after his parent’s deaths, Timothy Crook was found guilty of their manslaughter by way of diminished responsibility and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum tariff of 16 years.
DC Sarah Clarke, PC Peter Fennell and police staff member Teresa Sugden, members of that investigation team, were awarded the Chief Constable’s Certificate of Merit for their tenacity and attention to detail in returning this case to trial and delivering a successful outcome for the family of Robert and Elsie Crook.