THREE men who saved a woman from a vicious domestic attack have been honoured for their bravery.
Tom Lowther, Mark Aspinall and Jamie Campbell have all received Police Public Bravery Awards for saving the life of a woman who believed she was going to die at the hands of her partner.
The brutal assault happened in a Teesdale village late one January evening last year. The attacker repeatedly banged the victim’s head against a wall, stamped on her chest and broke her ribs before strangling her so hard so thought she was about to pass out.
He only loosened his grip when he heard the shouts of the three men who had entered the house after becoming concerned about the state of the property.
Mr Lowther, a former officer with the Metropolitan Police, said: “We had found a dog wandering in the street and were trying different houses to reunite it with its owners.
“When we approached this property we could tell something wasn’t right. It was only when we went inside that we realised something was seriously wrong – it was a scene of utter devastation. There was broken glass and blood all over the place.”
The men calmly ushered the woman out of the house and took her to a nearby place of safety and called the police before confronting the attacker who ran upstairs and locked himself in a bathroom.
The attacker was later charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and two separate common assaults. He pleaded guilty to all at court and was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison. He was also given an indefinite restraining order.
The three were presented with their awards at Durham Constabulary Headquarters by Chief Constable Mike Barton.
“Receiving this award is one of the proudest days of my life,” said Mr Aspinall.
“We just did what I hope anybody else would do. Our instincts just kicked in – we couldn’t walk away and leave her.”
Detective Constable David Nicholson nominated the three men for the bravery award. He said: “The victim is adamant that if these men hadn’t stepped in, she would have died that night.”
Chief Constable Mike Barton said: “I think it is just fantastic what these men have done. They should be extremely proud.
“They have shown real compassion and bravery in putting themselves in a potentially dangerous situation to save this woman’s life. They have stepped in when sadly other people may not have.”