Police awards for schoolgirl attack heroes

First published in Wollaston

STOURBRIDGE heroes who rushed to the rescue of schoolgirl Chloe West when she was stabbed outside Ridgewood High have been honoured with bravery awards.

Teenager Ben Hudson was among those recognised at the annual ACPO Police Public Bravery Awards for the courage he showed when he rugby-tackled knife-wielding attacker Samuel Gayzer-Tomlinson to the floor during the incident in Park Road West, Wollaston, on April 1 2011.

Ben, who was just 16 at the time, was given a gold medal for his efforts which police and Chloe’s parents said saved the schoolgirl’s life.

The courageous teenager, now a student at Stourbridge’s King Edward VI College, was one of only seven people across the country to receive the gold accolade.

He was also given a Binney Award - named after Captain Ralph Binney RN who died in 1944 after he attempted to prevent the escape of 'smash and grab’ thieves in London.

Ben, aged 17, said after the ceremony: “It’s nice to get some recognition but it was just something that happened and I did what had to be done.”

His dad Steve Hudson added: “We’re very proud of him. There were a lot of inspiring stories told on that night - for Ben’s story to be one of those was an unbelievable experience..”

Stourbridge mum-of-three Sonya Pugh, aged 41, was also recognised for her efforts in trying to pull Gayzer-Tomlinson off 14-year-old Chloe, who was stabbed 20 times.

She said: “I’m just glad I could help and I’d do it all again. I’m really chuffed to receive the award.”

Sonya, together with Ridgewood teachers Alan Simmonds and Steven Ramsey - who both helped Ben as he wrestled Gayzer-Tomlinson to retrieve the knife, were given Certificates of Commendation at the awards ceremony at the ACPO conference in Manchester.

Mr Simmonds said: “Both Steve and I were honoured and grateful to receive the awards on behalf of the school.”

Headteacher Clive Nutting added: “I am very pleased the actions of Ben along with Mr Simmonds and Mr Ramsey have been recognised in this way. They all deserve great credit.”

All four have-a-go-heroes held on to crazed Gayzer-Tomlinson, a jilted ex-boyfriend of Chloe’s, until police arrived and arrested him.

The Sedgley teenager was later sentenced to 13 years detention in a young offender's institution for the attack, which left Chloe needing 48 stitches to her face and neck and Ben with a cut to his finger.

Honorary Awards Secretary Chief Constable David Crompton said the selfless actions of those commended were “a true expression of public spirit and courage”.

He added: “The Police Public Bravery Awards do not exist to encourage people to place themselves in danger, but they do represent the opportunity, once a year, for police to pay tribute to those in the community, who no doubt consider themselves to be ordinary people and yet have performed extraordinary acts of bravery.”

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