The police service honoured the bravery of members of the public from York and Whitby earlier this week at the National Police Chiefs' Council Police and Public Bravery Awards.
Darren Hinchliffe from York was honoured twice for his role in trying to subdue a violent York man who killed his best friend.
Darren won a gold medal at the awards which are sponsored by The Goldsmith’s Company. The awards recognise members of the public for actions, which support the police in preserving law and order.
In addition to this, Darren was also the recipient of the Binney Award, a special award, named after Captain Ralph Binney, reserved only for the ‘bravest of the brave’. To celebrate this, Darren will now be invited to an all-expenses paid celebration of bravery every year with other Binney award winners.
Darren’s partner Claire also received a certificate for her brave actions during the incident.
Here’s Darren’s story:
On the evening of 27 July 2015, York man Sam Donley, who was 19 at the time, stabbed his best friend, Liam Miller, multiple times with a knife while suffering a drug-induced psychotic episode at a house in Hamilton Drive, York. .
A member of the public was walking home when he saw Liam laid unconscious on the driveway of the Sam’s home. He went to his aid and shouted into the house through the open doorway, to get an ambulance. Sam came out of the house and chased the member of the public, attacking him with a knife.
Police first became aware of the events following a report made by the Sam’s next door neighbours, Claire Bonner and her partner Darren Hinchliffe, who were at home when they heard noises from the adjacent property.
The shouting became louder and they believed that someone was being attacked. They both went outside to see what was happening and see if they could help. Claire went to her neighbour’s house where she saw Liam collapsed on the driveway with serious injuries. She called the emergency services and worked to try and stem the bleeding and conducted CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on Liam.
Darren, on leaving the house, saw Sam and a second man run past him. Darren ran after them and witnessed Sam, trying to stab the second man in the neck. Darren intervened and fought with Sam who dropped the knife and ran back to the house, passing Claire who was still attending to Liam.
Darren followed Sam into the house to get a towel to help Claire stem the bleeding. Sam became violent again, picking up another knife and running at Darren. Darren again had to restrain him and had to hold the door closed while he struggled to get out of the door. Darren held the door closed for around five minutes before police attended.
Paramedics attended the scene but sadly Liam was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital. Sam pleaded guilty to manslaughter and wounding and was jailed for six years and eight months. .
Paul Kennedy, Acting Deputy Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police, said:
“Darren and Claire showed incredible compassion and bravery as they became involved in a highly dangerous and distressing situation. With no thought for his own safety, Darren put in himself in extreme danger to protect other members of the public.”
Hinderwell Post Office robbery
A group of villagers from Hinderwell, near Whitby, were also honoured for their extreme bravery in tackling two armed robbers who targeted the village Post Office.
John McDonagh and Carl Schofield were both awarded gold medals at the awards. Mike Bunn and Simon Mccluskey were both silver medal winners.
Here’s their story:
On 11 August 2015, these individuals demonstrated great bravery and courage in catching and detaining two armed robbers who had just attacked the local Post Office, managed by the Post Master Mike Bunn and his wife Christine Bunn.
Mike Bunn, who is the Postmaster, was in the Post Office with his wife, who was stood behind the counter. At around 12.50pm he saw two men enter the shop, both wearing balaclavas and approach the counter. Mike saw one of the men produce a gun, which he held in his right hand, and pointed towards his face, only a couple of feet away. The other man then said “I want the money, put it in the bag.”
In an extreme act of bravery and still with a gun pointed in his face, Mike dodged behind the counter and grabbed a wooden handle. He shouted at the man and chased them both out of the shop. Mike then went back into his shop to check his wife was okay.
John was travelling in his car through Hinderwell with his family, including his four-year old granddaughter, when he saw the two masked men come running out of the Post Office followed by Mike Bunn. John followed one of the men in his car.
Meanwhile, Simon, a postal worker had also been driving his van nearby and had also seen the masked men leaving the shop. He also pursued the same man as John, in his vehicle.
The man was then seen to run down a side-street. John stopped his car and chased after the man catching him close by. There was a struggle between John and the man who was trying to break free and escape. At this point Simon arrived on foot and between them, they manage to detain the man on the floor until the police arrived and he was arrested.
Both John and Simon knew that these were two dangerous men and had most likely committed a robbery at the local Post Office. They also knew that there was a children’s play park nearby that the man was running towards.
Carl Schofield was at home in Hinderwell when he saw and heard a commotion coming from the street. He went to investigate and found that John and Simon were holding a man down on the floor. Carl did not know what was going on but saw that there were many people out on the street. It was at this point he was informed that the Post Office had been robbed and a gun had been used.
He was also informed that a man had been seen fleeing the area with something concealed up his jumper. Carl conducted a search to find the missing man, eventually spotting him nearby. Carl gave chase and detained the man following a struggle, holding on to him until the police arrived and arrested him. He did this despite knowing that a gun had been used in the robbery and there was a distinct possibility that the man still had that gun. Despite this, he put his own safety at risk.
He was aware that a gun had been used in the robbery and that it was highly likely the man was still in possession of it. The man he had been chasing had something concealed on his person, which was most probably the gun. Whilst it emerged this had been discarded before Carl found him, he was not aware of this.
Andrew Waldron received six years in prison and Joseph Crosby received 11 years for their part in the robbery.
Paul Kennedy, Acting Deputy Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police said:
“From the outset of this investigation, it was clear that the community spirit in the village of Hinderwell is second to none. Without doubt, the brave actions of many of the residents of the village and other members of the public enabled two armed and dangerous men to be taken off the streets for a long time. They thoroughly deserve their award.”
Honorary Awards Secretary, Chief Constable Stephen Watson, said:
“Each of those honoured put themselves in harm’s way to ensure the safety of others. They acted with bravery and public-spiritedness in a desperate moment and it’s an absolute honour to be able to recognise them in this way.”
The 51st annual Police Public Bravery Awards were held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bloomsbury, London, on Tuesday 15 November 2016. This year’s awards ceremony recognised the acts of 94 people for their courage and bravery.
Last modified: October 17, 2018