Police officers praised for catching Primrose Hill student’s violent sex attacker
PUBLISHED: 07:00 22 September 2015 | UPDATED: 09:56 22 September 2015
Two police officers have been commended by Camden’s Borough Commander for tracking down a violent sex attacker who assaulted an Oxford University student in Primrose Hill.
The case made headlines around the world when 20-year-old victim Ione Wells, waived her anonymity and penned an 800-word open letter to her assailant as part of a campaign called #NotGuilty - to end the culture of blame in attacks on women.
She described how her attacker pushed his hand over her mouth so she could not breath, smashed her head against the pavement and repeatedly kicked her during the assault on April 11.
He fled the scene after being interrupted by neighbours who heard her screams.
PC Timothy Murray and PC Jo McGrath, were praised for the part they played in catching the 17-year-old assailant, who was sentenced to a 24-month detention order after admitting sexual assault. They were also praised for their sensitivity in supporting the 20-year-old victim and her family in the aftermath of the attack.
The officers were called by Ione’s neighbours and her distraught mother, who awoke to her daughter’s shouts for help.
With no sign of the attacker, the police trawled through CCTV of the area and spotted Ione walking from Chalk Farm tube station with her attacker in pursuit.
PCs Murray and McGrath were among 80 officers who were given commendations by departing Borough Commander Det Ch Supt Richard Tucker at a ceremony at Camden Town Hall on Friday.
These included two officers who saved the lives of two women attempting to commit suicide in separate incidents.
In the first, PC Daniel Green was praised for his “professionalism and prompt action” for coming to the aid of a woman who was reported to have taken an overdose on Hampstead Heath last July.
In a race against time he tracked down the unconscious 19-year-old in a secluded area near the Hampstead Heath ponds.
On hearing that an ambulance would take over an hour to reach her, he carried her all the way back to his van and drove her to hospital.
“Without his intervention she would have died of an overdose of paracetamol and codeine or had more serious organ damage,” the ceremony was told.
In a separate incident, PC Gary Studley was praised for “outstanding bravery in saving a woman’s life” after he climbed onto a narrow ledge on the railway bridge in Gloucester Avenue, Primrose Hill, and grabbed hold of a woman who was planning to jump in front of an oncoming train.
“His actions were selfless and without regard for his own safety while acting in best interests of the woman,” the ceremony heard.
Another commendation went to two detectives involved in the arrest and prosecution of three Hungarian nationals for a brutal attack on a lone man on Hampstead Heath.
The trio were jailed for a total of 25 years after a court heard they lured their victim to a secluded part of the Heath before beating him to near death and stealing £200 on November 17.
Det Con Thomas Boon and Det Con Jamie Witts were commended for their “detective ability, professionalism and victim care during the investigation”
For a full list of the 2015 Camden Borough Commander’s awards, see next Thursday’s Ham & High.
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