Lifesaving Suffolk police officers who tackled a suicidal man from the path of a train near Bury St Edmunds up for bravery awards
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Lifesaving police officers who pulled a drunk and suicidal man off the train tracks near Bury St Edmunds seconds before a train flew past are up for a national bravery award.
Pc Emma Stacey and Pc Rob Farrow, then of the Bury St Edmunds Neighbourhood Response Team, were called to the Mount Road pedestrian crossing, between Bury and Thurston, by a tearful girlfriend whose partner was threatening suicide.
Yesterday it was announced by the Police Federation that they were nominated for the England and Wales Police Bravery Awards,
Pc Stacey, an officer for three years, said: “We would normally be single crewed but we had been to another job together and happened to be on Mount Road when the job came in.
“It was between 6pm and 8pm, it was still light. When we got there we saw the female, she was very emotional and we could see down the track to a man. On the way we had requested a block on the trains and were told this had been put in place.
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“Rob walked over to him while I went into the field alongside as there was not much room on the grass verge. I was near him behind a barb wire fence while Rob spoke to him and tried to calm him down. He had a large bottle of beer in his hand and was waving it like a weapon.”
It was at this point, on August 22 2014, that they felt the track rumbling and realised a train was on its way.
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“There was not any time to talk it over with each other,” Pc Stacey said. “We couldn’t see the train the way we were standing but the man could.
“It is all a bit of a blur. We knew we had to do something fast so I drew his attention away by speaking to him and Rob launched himself at him.”
Pc Farrow, after bringing the man to the ground, was quickly joined by Pc Stacey, who had leapt the barbwire fence. They both held him down as the train flew past.
He said: “It was about five or six seconds later the train came past. I just used my weight to hold him down and then between us we got the cuffs on him.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without Emma, she got him to lower the bottle and look her way and that was my chance. Then she leapt the fence, hurting her hand in the struggle and helped keep him down.
“I was not going to let him throw himself in front of a train in front of me. He was drunk, he had been going through a lot at home and had been mixing his medication with alcohol – he could have ended up under the train by accident.
“My fiancée was five months pregnant at the time and that went through my head as well.”
Both officers said the adrenalin had kicked in. Pc Stacey’s hand had swollen like a balloon after jarring her thumb in the struggle, something she didn’t even feel until after the man had been detained under the Mental Health Act.
“It is not until you are sat down in the station having a cup of tea before you realise what has just happened,” continued Pc Farrow, an officer of seven years service who now works in Hadleigh.
“But to get nominated for this award, it is an amazing feeling. Officers can go a whole 30 year career without something like this. We were just doing our jobs at the end of the day.”
Pc Stacey revealed the shock of discovering her nomination was hard to believe for both. “I had a letter in the internal mail and I thought someone was playing a joke on me. I was still on my probation when the incident happened.
“I phoned Rob who was off duty and he thought I was winding him up. We used to play jokes on each other and he thought it wasn’t true until I told him for the eighth time it was.”
The officers were will find out if they have won their awards at the 20th Police Bravery Awards ceremony on October 27 at The Dorchester in London.